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Delphine Dora

Le Grand Passage (LP)

Label: Modern Love

Format: LP

Genre: Experimental

Out of stock

Big Tip! *300 copies limited edition* Delphine Dora was nearing the end of a three-day prepared piano residency when a technician stepped in to tune her grand piano for her final performance. He removed the objects from the strings and fixed the pitch, leaving Dora with a freshly tuned instrument. Mesmerised by its new sound, she proceeded to switch on her recorder and pour out her soul, channeling, in her own words, “something greater than myself”. The result is some of the most unusual but elevated material the prolific composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist has ever recorded, rooted in a deep understanding of European musical history but willing to push at its boundaries, questioning the earthly logic of life and death, asceticism and impiety.

Baroque paradigms bleed into fragile, introspective mantras, expressed through a made up language of existential yearning and channeled through piano and voice. It’s music that caresses the sublime, made without any premeditation. Glistening imperfections lash ‘The Great Passage’ to the physical world, but Dora - seemingly possessed as she quivers in a fictional dialect - lets her fantasies intensify her spirit, lifting the music towards the heavens. It’s not sacred music, per se, but it is unashamedly mystical. On the luxurious, languid opening, Dora dissolves eerily familiar romantic piano motifs into an attentive ceremony, singing with charged emotion. Her words aren’t really decipherable, but their resonance vibrates beyond language; it’s striking to hear how confident she is in vulnerability. She lets the piano wrap into her voice, connecting us directly to a unique mode of emotional expression by urging us - the listener - to project our own meaning onto her abstracted words. As her songs blur in and out of focus, dipping from a hoarse croak to a choking wail, she places herself at the very edge of musical formality, questioning strictures put in place to suffocate self-expression.

 Her music has often been labeled “outsider”, but here she sounds intimate and interconnected, more self-consciously candid than anything traditional might have allowed. She conjures affecting, plainspoken poetry, like a bedside diary written in a hypnagogic, delirious state: a stream-of-unconsciousness, channelling the beyond.The album title connects to a book dedicated to French philosopher and activist Simone Weil, who famously pored over global religions to ascertain spiritual truths. To Weil, meditation was a passage to access mystical experience, or a bridge between humanity and divinity. In Dora’s hands, this idea is a corridor between herself and the listener, a liminal place where she’s able to address feelings without making anything explicit. The title, of course, also refers to life, its impermanence, finitude, and fragility, presenting the complex, multi-dimensionality of being through one of the most undiluted, unbridled set of songs imaginable.

Cat. number: Love131
Year: 2023
produced by Andrew Chalk