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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 221 - 09/09/14

Dakota Suite & Quentin Sirjacq
There Is Calm To Be Done
Karaoke Kalk

Dakota Suite are Chris Hooson and David Buxton. They formed in Leeds 'during a particularly melancholy 1996', according to their bandcamp site, making 'both singer songwriter and ambient/cinematic soundscapes since the beginning.' They are now based in Liverpool but by checking their website, Everton FC seems to be their local football team (fine by me, since I have never liked LFC!). However, their musical home ground is far from being related to football chants and fever pitch male choirs. This is musical explorations deep inside, or far across the borders of musical melancholia. File under: 'chamber pop music', 'modern, classical music', 'contemporary, classical lounge music'.

Dakota Suite have released a long line of albums since the late 90s, and they have covered a variety, or a broad spectre of genres, from lo-fi to folk rock, via electronic to ambient, and they have taken in elements of jazz and have touched modern classical music as well. There Is Calm To Be Done is their third collaboration work with French pianist/composer/improviser Quentin Sirjacq (following 2010's Vallisa, which was done along with Sirjacq and American cellist and composer David Darling, plus 2011's The Side of Her Inexhaustible Heart - both recordings released by the Glitterhouse Records label). This album holds 13 tracks (the CD version), it clocks in at nearly 55 minutes, and it is a true pleasure cruise within comfortable musical backdrops and landscapes. Where their last album, An Almost Silent Life (2012, Karaoke Kalk) had much of the same: circling the inner beauty of modern classical, low-voiced, Ambient pop, alternative music, their 2011 record, The Hearts of Empty (Karaoke Kalk) was a jazzy instrumental album. The songs on There Is Calm To Be Done are majestic and grand, focusing on stillness, panic - and humour! Neat arrangements and excellent instrumentation make sure to bring out a fine album as well: brass, woodwind, piano, double bass, laidback brush drums, and a wide, mild array of chilled instruments all make this perfect sound all the way throughout the album, plus, of course, Hooson's pleasant voice. This could've made a fine soundtrack to a film. Anytime. They still do some instrumental in-between. Jazzy as well, sometimes. Enjoy. It is lounge time, and it is couch time. There Is Calm To Be Done presents pop music that makes a difference. Dakota Suite give you an alternative. And, it is a good alternative as well.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Dakota Suite & Quentin Sirjacq article/review: Wintersong.

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