Dakota Suite, Dag Rosenqvist and Emanuele Errante - What Matters Most
Ten tracks of sorrowful, Ambient music in varying shades of pain, with poignant lyrics, gentle guitar sounds, classical instrumentation and field recordings to help with the relay. World-weary sage or other-worldly oracle, Chris Hooson clearly contemplates life and equally understands how to musically manipulate the listener (he has been doing this for the last twenty years with his band Dakota Suite). On new album What Matters Most, a collaboration with two like-minded artists, Dag Rosenqvist and Emanuele Errante, he concludes that "love" is what matters most, his fragile, off-kilter vocals that lie somewhere between Will Oldham and Elliott Smith, only adding to the earnest transmission. And while only four of the ten tracks feature Hooson's quavering croon, this is still a Dakota Suite album.
One may argue that the music is skeletal and stripped back with tracks like opener Constanta, 1992 featuring little more than a piano or Now That You Know and Broken Things are the Glue of the World each placing a crisply clear acoustic guitar high in the mix (thereby reducing the impact of other elements) but listen close, each track is brimming with subtle textures and real life... this isn't a bunch of musicians sitting in a recording studio but a shared biographical journal, packed with vulnerability and revealing insights. As Hooson bids on closing statement Someday this pain will be useful to you, he already knows that we will be returning again and again.
- Rating: 9/10
- Listens: 32
- Highlight: De Ziekte van Emile
- Label: Karaoke Kalk
- Release Date: 14th September 2018