25 May 2015

Delphine Dora "Près Du Coeur Sauvage"

Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & the Moon)

‘Près Du Coeur Sauvage’, the new album by Wild Silence label owner and experimental musician, improviser and pianist Delphine Dora, is as otherworldly an album as you will hear. Not unlike a still winter's day this album's icy beauty is filled with pockets of warmth and a smoky nostalgia that remains in the air long after the music itself has finished. Entirely the work of Dora herself this is the artist’s singular vision, a melancholic but graceful statement of intent.

Opener 'Souffle' offers a hazy dawn of delicate, tense piano, beautifully ethereal vocals and a cluster of wailing woodwind. The cover art features a single figure dwarfed by a snow covered mountain, vast and white; there is the same sense of nature and open space evident here, of being blown on the winter's wind and of wide, serene landscapes. 'Whisper Incantation' has shades of Kate Bush's '50 Words for Snow' with a hint of Faun Fables, its haunting piano lines and field recordings creating a spectral choir of voices and resonating notes; it is truly beautiful and utterly unique. 'Ce Que Je Suis Demeure En Realitie Inconnu' begins hesitantly, single piano notes merging with Dora's layered vocals to create a musical spiders web that is uncanny, delicate and graceful; there is no real precedence for this music; all comparisons fall short as there is not really anything else like this out there. 'Vision' is more strident and filled with dread, the ghostly harmonies and backing vocals suggesting something in the air that is both unsettled and filled with tension. Strings scrape and bow as the song lulls, a quiet howl into the wind, before Dora's spellbinding vocals return.

'La Lueur’ is a chilly lullaby, the xylophone chiming above the choral chants that remind slightly of early Sigur Ros. 'L'obscuritie Du Silence Sourd‘ is a gently doomed and apocalyptic icy sonata whilst 'Fuga Mundi' is more upbeat and playful, though still with the feel of the Sirens of the frozen wastes calling your name. It is both magical and unnerving. Nôtan' is bleak and filled with a snowstorm's beauty and power. Indeed there is something of Nico's 'Marble Index' about this album and the Velvet's chanteuse bleak opus is perhaps a useful reference point here. Both albums are blessed with being quite unlike anything else and both evoke their own strange yet lovely version of a new and unique kind of folk music. Both albums are also not necessarily easy listening but are demanding pieces of art that are filled with repeated riches for those who persevere.

'Le Tumulte S'evanouissant' is a case in point; a cold chill settles over the twinkling piano lines and choral vocals, the atmosphere building and layering until it reaches a crescendo that takes the breath away. 'Lingua Ignota' is a wraith like nursery rhyme, disturbing and compelling in equal measure until closer 'No Words' enters with its stately and sombre piano, Dora's expressionistic vocals creating a tapestry of sound that floats over the music. It is a memorable and entrancing ending to an album that is filled with many such moments of heartrending beauty, flitting shadows and unique, artic atmosphere.

As always with Wild Silence releases the CD comes in beautiful packaging with a fold out gatefold sleeve and is also available on download. Buy this album; keep it for the moments just before dawn or as dusk begins to fall. Then just close your eyes and listen.

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