Davachi, Sarah: Papers (Book, 2nd Edition, ltd to 100)

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Artist: Sarah Davachi
Album: Papers
Label: Recital
Catalog: R75
Format: Book
Release Date: June 5th, 2020 (This is a pre-order, we will ship at the end of May)

In addition to the musical objects she creates, Sarah Davachi is
also immersed in the theoretical issues that surround her practice.
This twin engagement began in her youth in Canada, studying
philosophy and music, and working at a specialized musical
instrument museum. Her compositional ambitions led to the
doorstep of Mills College, fertile with history. Accompanied by a
thesis for pipe organ and electronics, she also wrote a tangential
document that ties experimentalism and phenomenology and the
concept of the “irreal.” A few years passed as Davachi continued to
research and write with an extensive content development project
for the museum in Canada. Since 2017, she has been working
toward her PhD in musicology at UCLA, with a dissertation on
critical organology (the study of musical instruments) and texture in
early music, popular music, and experimental music.
Papers positions historical and technological conclusions to face
their philosophical underpinnings. Illuminating the mysteries of
temperament and character in harmony, placing medievalism into
the present, giving a narrative of studio recording as world making,
and musing on her revered theories about art. Two of the essays
dissect sympathetic compositions: Natura Morta by Walter
Marchetti and In A Large, Open Space by James Tenney.
Fingerprints bordering pathos. The book concludes with six artifact
studies: an Italian virginal, a Bösendorfer piano, the Novachord, the
Mellotron, the modern harp, and the OSCar synthesizer.
Comprehensive details of their development, mechanisms, and
cultural significance are laid to bare.

I walked downstairs a few weeks ago and Sarah was tuning her
harpsichord with a hammer given to us by our friend James
Rushford, who had accidentally bought the wrong type a few years
back. I sat on the chair beside her; she was setting the instrument
to a quarter-comma meantone temperament (from roughly the late
1400s). With only a laymen’s understanding of tuning, Sarah
demonstrated for me an explanation so simple and beautiful that it
made me smile continually. The unique identity of each triad, in this
early form, became tangible that afternoon. I could hear how one
interval sounded apart from the same in another key. The book
elucidates similar experiences. When I read Papers, I admire
Sarah’s ability to frame the tableau of history with an elegant open
end.

-Sean McCann, April 2020

• First Edition of 200
• 204 pages, perfect-bound