Calgary-born and currently resident in Los Angeles, Sarah Davachi has quickly developed a significant reputation creating music that is ambient, minimalist, and highly compelling. She recently spent a summer in Europe exploring her fascination with the acoustic properties of ancient churches and the behaviour of early instruments, finding parallels to the latter in the behaviour of the analog synthesizers she’s long worked with. On Gave in Rest, these interests come together in drone music that’s increasingly redolent of church interiors and a sense of personal tuning. Davachi ultimately realized these in a Montreal recording studio, but they sound like they might have been rendered in a cathedral; the pitches of sustained chords seem to reverberate and expand in the air, summoning up special convergences of space and time. She employs recorder and assorted keyboards—including piano, synthesizer, Mellotron and Hammond organ—with the contributions from violinist Jessica Moss and bassist Thierry Amar.
The pieces are associated with different times of day, some referring specifically to the ecclesiastical clock. On Evensong, Lisa McGee’s chanting reverberates perpetually with the piano and strings; similarly, the high frequencies of Matins seem pulled from the instruments, Davachi employing electronics as a meditative acoustic science. The resonance of Gloaming, created by recording a piano and repeatedly running it through an Echoplex, suggests a bowed gong before its subtle permutations pass beyond any need for identity, fusing the listener and the sound and the disparate identities of ancient sacred spaces and contemporary recording techniques.