Across the album’s five tracks, Pagé unfurls untold possibilities from within the 5000-year-old instrument: moving through free-form tonal caverns, catching gently-bent melodic breezes and expanding out to the ambient aethers. Dose Curves is a world in a spin of its own, intricately detailed and paced serenely. Described by its maker as a ‘tribute to the many moods and colours of the harp’, the album moves with a learned fluidity. Employing a myriad of techniques and tools to accentuate the harp ( a bass pick-up of her own design and an array of carefully considered amps, fans, bows and pedals) Pagé capitalizes on both the very physical and altogether mystical tones inherent in the instrument.
The mere range of sounds Pagé is able to pull out of the harp while remaining tethered to its essence is astounding. Though what really makes the record so spellbinding is its rootedness in performativity. Dose Curves arrives in album format after eight years of intensive practice, playing, touring, collaborating and recording. During this period (which included her regular duties with The Barr Brothers, close collaborations with the late Mexican-American mysterion Lhasa, and appearances on recordings by Leif Vollebekk, Patrick Watson, Jerusalem In My Heart, Nadah El Shazly, among many others), Pagé would test these solo works on live audiences as opportunity permitted. Across many explorations, versions, dialogues and fine-tunings, the pieces materialize here as vibrant as ever. Rather than presenting as a deadened product of a disconnected process, the tracks on Dose Curves are wildly alive, charged with organic iteration and intent. The entire LP consists of one unaltered performance, presenting the full range of the artist and instrument, imbuing the album with a visceral vitality.
It takes an incredible amount of discipline, dedication and curiosity to manifest such a unique and unified collection of music. That such a collection feel so immediate and welcoming speaks to the artistry of Sarah Pagé: fearless, tender and ever-changing.
- ARTIST: Sarah Pagé
- TITLE: Voda
- CAT#: BKWRD032
- FORMAT: Digital
- RELEASE DATE: June 02, 2023
Voda is the latest album from Montréal’s exploratory harpist Sarah Pagé. Comprising nine longforms movements, the music grew out of a collaborative performance piece with Russian/Ukrainian choreographer Nika Stein. The standalone album explores concepts of mortality and vitality through humankind's relationship to water, carrying concepts from Russian mythology through murky depths and into profound passages of tenderness. Featuring bass, cello, violin, koto, electronics, oak branches, water bowls and waterphone, Voda is an entirely moving and unique achievement.
“graceful” – New Sounds, WNYC
“gripping and enveloping” – Cast the Dice
“a rich, expansive sound universe” – PAN M 360
“full of mystic beauty and gentle, fluttering melodies” – Bandcamp
“a hushed, quietly-unfolding mystery” – The Autumn Roses
“Her ability to portray beauty and danger in turn and at times together is extraordinary.” – A Closer Listen
“a dynamic journey that drifts the listener through tangled knots and flowing eddies” – The Attic Mag