liner notes for Dana Saul - Ceiling (2019)

This is elusive music, favoring plateau over climax, intuitive drifting over logical progression, and intimacy over showmanship. The pleasure to be had here lies not so much in the fulfillment or even subversion of established convention, but rather in the opportunity to reorient our understanding as a whole, to attend to new ways of perceiving and feeling. That this is accomplished in a personal fashion, without easy nods to the supposedly avant-garde tropes of much contemporary music, speaks to the integrity of both Dana Saul’s compositions and the musicians he has selected to realize them.

program notes for Daisy, Hold Into (2017) by Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie

Daisy, Hold Into takes as its starting point the aesthetic tensions that emerge between electronic and acoustic sound – or more precisely, between pre-recorded material sounding from speakers and live material produced by traditional instruments. Rather than try and reconcile these two worlds, this piece lays bare the ontological differences between the two categories by means of simple juxtaposition. Extremely spare and austere musical material is distributed between an acoustic piano and an electronic copy of the same instrument, in a manner that foregrounds nuances of timbre and spatial diffusion.

This technique of letting musical properties reveal themselves through juxtaposition becomes an operative principle of the piece in general, working across several parametrical registers. Contrasting musical states are not negotiated alongside any sort of continuum. Rather, they are placed plainly beside each other, interwoven into a kind of mosaic. There is no discursive logic or linear process guiding the music along, but instead an intimate sense of free play. This is music that encourages a child-like re-encounter with the world, with all of the freshness, sensuality, and strangeness that such an experience entails.