A singer/guitarist Chris Hooson’s project ‘dakota suite’ and a pianist/composer Quentin Sirjacq will be releasing their new collaboration album from Schole Records.
This album was recorded during their second ‘dakota suite & quentin sirjacq’ Japan tour in 2017.
A well-balanced musical harmony of Quentin Sirjacq’s simple but elegant piano sounds with Chris Hooson’s voice as if it lights slightly in the silence, and the sound of vibraphone and synthesizer creates the comfortable atmosphere.
Not only Quentin’s prepared piano, but also Matsumushi, Mokusho, Tam-Tam, Crotale, these characteristic percussions were used to put some accent to the music.
From the songs with a Japanese title, kogarashi (木枯らし), kintsugi (金継ぎ), aiseki (哀惜), kyōshū (郷愁), it shows their better understanding towards Japanese culture. Their music seeks for the tranquility beauty with their imaginative approach, which gives us the peaceful time as we are enjoying the sight of Japanese Garden surrounded in silence.
“The Indestructibility of The Already Felled”
My journey with Quentin has brought us to this place where the thing we create is what seems to us to be the logical step to take from the last music we made. We started with large works for many parts and people and ended up with an almost whisper on our last recording (Wintersong), stripping back the songs until there was almost nothing left but the pure essence of it. This record feels to me to be almost a collected conscious ‘voice’ which we have found after our journeys together. This brother of mine, cut from the same wood, flowing out to the same ocean. When we met I knew there was something about him that I would need to keep around me. What I could not know was that he would become like a brother to me. So it is with the music we create.
We set out to combine two of the influences which form the centre of how we interact with the world, firstly to understand our relationships with our women (Johanna for me, Aurelie for Quentin) and secondly to celebrate our deep love and connection to Japan and its mindset.
Quentin and I had three days of recording in the beautiful Okurayama Hall in Yokohama and had travelled with a few small ideas of what we would create. The idea was to create music in the moment, created from the very core of who we are. It was intimidating but I count those days with Quentin amongst the very best times of my life, days we flowed as one into the fog of these songs, wrestling them from the breeze. None of the things you hear now existed at all before then, and feeling them come to us was magical. Quentin’s work was mystical and profound to watch as he arranged these pieces, at times I could not tell where the music was coming from. Gifts from our own personal Furunushi perhaps.
Some songs are direct communications, like “Safe Within Your Arms” which is a hymn of thanks to Johanna, and some are specific expressions of how it is to be us, within the painful reality of living “Silences Are All the Words I Have”. “Aiseki” follows a pattern Quentin and I have undertaken on each record, namely to compose a song which attempts to create a musical expression of how it is to be inside us as we feel the pressure of living. Not easy to do, but important.
We also wanted to convey our love of Japan by covering important concepts like “Kinsugi” which speaks of making scars and broken things the feature of beauty, not hiding it, but celebrating what it took to gain those scars and the brokenness which surrounds them. This also finds its way back to the title of the record. Essentially, broken things still surviving and making their way towards the ocean despite being set up to fail by experience and those they should have been able to trust, is power and hope for others.
There are several ways in which Japan approaches thinking, art and this fleeting life that speaks to Quentin and I and we wanted to explore them and how we relate to them in song. Concepts like Kogarashi and Kyoshu are not properly understood or sought out by most people in the west and the way in which Japanese people stop and appreciate small natural movements and aspects of nature and the flow of time, is very important to Quentin and I. So we tried to honour these things in this record.
We put all of ourselves into this record. It is not something to play on trains or in shopping malls. It is music that you should make time to reflect on. Johanna once again took all the images for the artwork and without her I feel that the music would not be complete. She is as much a part of this as me.
It would also not be possible to make this music without the support of our Schole family, who did so much again to create the right atmosphere for us to be able to create this music. Without their unconditional and unobtrusive assistance, this music or anything like it would be impossible to make. It is rare that a label funds the resources to allow you to take risks like this without being sure that anything meaningful will come out of it. We are thankful to them for being there for us.
Where we go from here I do not know. It feels like the end of things for me, but I know that wherever Quentin and I are in the same space, the music will endure and be happening. I am grateful to him for sharing his soul and time with me. He is like no other and this journey with him has been one which has forever changed me. This record is our gift to you, but also to ourselves. I dream of being once more on a stage in Japan with Quentin to play these songs in the place they were born to return them to where they belong and will reverberate forever.
– Chris Hooson (dakota suite)
quentin sirjacq & chris hooson
acoustic guitar & voice
piano, vibraphone, percussions and synthesizers
okurayama memorial hall, yokohama
all arrangements by quentin sirjacq
1 & 5 composed by chris hooson
6 & 9 composed by chris hooson / chantal acda
2, 3, 7, 8,10 & 11 composed by quentin sirjacq
4 composed by kathleen edwards
recording, mix and mastering: hiroshi iguchi
photography: johanna hooson
a&r: akira Kosemura
recording management and art direction: shin kikuchi
sales promotion: kazumitsu yoshida, romain meril and matthieu burel
production management: schole inc.