Sarah Davachi is releasing a new 80-minute double album called Cantus, Descant on September 18, and having shared “Stations II” last month today she shares “Play The Ghost”. The new track is unusual for Davachi, as it’s not ambient, featuring as it does her own singing over piano. She says:
“‘Play The Ghost’ is the first song I’ve written in the traditional sense, I started working on it early in January 2019. The electric organ, a Hammond B3 tone, is very much present in the background but I would say that this is a song written for piano; the chord structures are pretty idiomatic to that way of working. The lyrics came months later and were actually inspired by Bergman’s holiday ghost story classic, Fanny & Alexander. I wanted the vocals to exist within the texture of the mix, and the thing that excited me most about working on this track was exploring the use of a Leslie rotary speaker on my voice, which has captivated me since I first heard it on Black Sabbath’s ‘Planet Caravan’ when I was a teenager.”
The hushed and quilted atmosphere of “Play The Ghost” has some kinship with the recent work of Grouper, but while Davachi’s voice is quiet it is up close – wanting you to hear every word. Rippling piano chords form the gorgeous basis of the song, while the picture is broadened by additional layers of keys and synths that stretch placidly out to the very horizon of the sonic plane. “Play The Ghost” is subtle, but has so much depth that it’s easy to get lost in – and that’s before you’ve even taken the time to appreciate Davachi’s understatedly sparkling singing and storytelling.