Published Mar 15, 2015She was celebrating the release of Barons Court, her debut full-length and first release for Alex Cobb's buzzing Students of Decay label, but Vancouver-based electro-acoustic artist Sarah Davachi didn't make a big fuss about it. With the Fox actually hosting a cabaret setting, the dance floor dotted with candlelit tables, Davachi appeared without introduction. She crouched in the middle of the floor with a small mound of gear and a glass of red wine, huge plumes of fog machine discharge seeping from the cracks of the stage, and kicked off her boots when she was ready to begin.
Davachi started her performance standing, faintly plucking a violin, her physical form faintly outlined in the visuals of Richard Smith, a kind of VHS saturation in lysergic negative with purple and greenish yellow waveforms cascading upward like a busted vertical hold on an old TV. The delayed, staccato violin was looped delicately until an almost opaque base was formed, at which point she picked up a bow and filled in the space between with an organic drone. After so many layers, the bowed strings began to take on an organ-like timbre.
As the gracefulness of this began to take hold, she kneeled on the ground and coaxed lilting melodies from a 1973 EMS Synthi AKS, which looked like an old briefcase with a keyboard inlay. After about 20 minutes, the violin loops dissipated from the texture, and she again arose to add a pensive, uneasy grind on the stringed instrument, a level of dissonance in the otherwise soothing, ethereal soundscape. Then, as it all faded from the presence of the modestly assembled crowd, she gave a cool double-thumbs up.
Altogether, Davachi's performance lasted about a half-hour; it seemed she was somewhat reluctant to bask in the spotlight. Yet, her music is so wondrous and effervescent, informed by a wealth of education and experience, perfect for sitting down in a cabaret with a bottle of wine and letting oneself drift into the void. Thus, she had the venue enraptured. Moving forward, one hopes she will see that she truly deserves to be more self-indulgent onstage, especially at an event like her own album release party. She is a treasure, and the people need time to properly adore her.