The North Green Down from Dakota Suite & Emanuele Errante is a graceful blend of solo piano, cello and ambient electronic elements. The artists came together after a personal loss, which themes the album, but the gorgeous arrangements and subtle electronic processing strike an uplifting tone. This limited double vinyl LP on Karaoke Kalk is for fans of minimal, neo-classical music.
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- The North Green Down by Dakota Suite & Emanuele Errante
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Appropriately mournful and sorrowful in tone this, as the themes in the music reflect the events in Chris Hooson's life surrounding the death of his sister-in-law. "The North Green Down" originally came out in 2012 as a very limited CD-only release, and is presented here for the first time on double vinyl.
The record contains a series of miniatures with recurring motifs and begins with "The North Green Down (part 1)", a mournful reflection on loss which continues throughout. Gentle piano, by turns tinkling and spectral, played in harmony with plucked resonant acoustic guitar and augmented by Emanuele Errante's electronic processing. Errante is not an obvious, overwhelming presence here; rather, his addition of softly reverberating found sounds add an almost not-there presence to compliment Hooson's tranquil playing. The resulting atmosphere is haunting, emotionally deeply affecting and one of total stillness and calm at the centre of a storm.
Hooson adds beautiful, poised strings - slowly interweaving cello and violin, mixing and almost playing as in leaves on the breeze - to create a balanced timbre and added emotional punch in perfect harmony to his piano and soft guitar nuances, as on "A Worn Out Life". Be warned, it's a tear jerker. We're back with meditative piano, gently treated guitar and muted strings - Errante's touches becoming more prevalent here - for the lovely, calm as a lake in summer "Away From This Silence". Strings fade in and out, under Hooson's somnabulent one-handed piano. The strings continue to sadden and beguile, on "They Could Feel The End of All Things". Elsewhere, as on "Nobody Is Ever Safe", Emanuele's soft electronic washes - not quite drones - are crystalline, clearly underpinning Chris's wonderful guitar.
The sounds within, the composition, the flow - are reflective of the time and place of Chris Hooson's last holiday with his wife Johanna and her sister Hannah, in August 2009. Hannah was shortly to be taken from them by cancer. They walked in Southwold, Suffolk - by the sea - and encountered "The North Green" and began to feel the beginnings of the music and the record of which I hold here and still have haunting my ears and heart.
A beautiful record and one which I am certain will stay with me for quite some time. One to immerse yourself in, when you're ready.
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