Album Reviews

Dakota Suite & Vampillia – The Sea Is Never Full – Album Review


Dakota Suite & Vampillia – The Sea Is Never Full – Album Review by Killian Laher

Dakota Suite have been releasing albums for the best part of twenty years, evolving from a ‘sadcore’ American Music Club/Red House Painters oriented outfit to cover classical music, jazz, and generally pushing the boundaries of their sound.  With this collaboration with Japanese experimental band Vampillia, they have expanded the idea of Dakota Suite even further.  Little would prepare you for this.

The main body of the album is a lengthy two suite title track.  The first suite opens with music that is both slow and jazzy, mainly piano before being joined by a wall of guitars six and a half minutes in, along with some strings and echoey electric guitar, before some incongruous and borderline disturbing Japanese throat singing, which shatters everything.  And even when the strings return, it’s too late. The listener is now only thinking of nightmares.  It’s quite a journey over 18 minutes. The second suite is even longer at 27 minutes, opening with what sounds like the instruments tuning up before the addition of almost operatic female singing, screaming sirens, scraping strings and droning keyboards.  Sparse piano and the merest touch of strings follow in a segment reminiscent of late period Talk Talk, before even more mental throat singing.

More watery “classical-tronica” follows in the shape of Nagisa / Isonade, a kind of pensive yet challenging listen, consisting of a basic piano melody overlaid with noise and not a whole lot else.  Shorobune / Funayurei is along similar lines, adding to the overall uneasy feeling of the set which I believe was inspired by the Fukushima disaster in Japan.  Definitely not a starting point for Dakota Suite, more an hour of intrigue for their small band of loyal followers.

Track List:

01. The sea is never full {part I}
02. The sea is never full {part II}
03. nagisa / isonade
04. shōrōbune / funayūrei



The Sea Is Never Full (teaser):




Categories: Album Reviews, Header, Music

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