8/10 Brian Staff review, 30 September 2010
If I had to review a Dakota Suite album I'd probably be a little nervous. The man Hooton has been known to darken our doors on several occasions as Phil has been flogging his wares quietly, yet consistently for nigh on 15 years. If I was to review the new Dakota Suite album I'd not know what to expect, their sleeves are normally very bleak, sporting black & white photography - sometimes blurred, sometimes sillouetted. I'd be expecting very solemn, sombre music with a miserabalist core. Sort of like Low or something. But lower. If I was to crack open the new Dakota Suite album and start throwing words about, attempting to describe the sounds within......I'd probably not be prepared for this spacious, graceful beauty, a collaboration with these other two chaps on cello & piano respectively. There's a thrilling atmosphere to this experimental chamber recording. One minute tragic & stern, the next playful, jazzy & light and on occasion things become briefly abstracted with some discordance & sudden bursts of improvisation. I love the way these 3 talented men manage the acoustics of this little Italian chapel, it is a wonder to behold. Some beautiful, profound music here that easily transcends, merely, the neo-classical realm & dips its toe mischievously in other areas. A lovely surprise!
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