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ARTIST
TITLE
The Hearts Of Empty
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
KK 059CD KK 059CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
6/21/2011

Following the release of The End Of Trying (KK 046CD) on Karaoke Kalk in 2008 and 2009's The Night Just Keeps Coming In (KK 051CD), Dakota Suite are back with a new album of equally mesmerizing beauty. The band are led by Chris Hooson and completed by David Buxton and previously also Richard Formby. They released their first album in 1998 and The Hearts Of Empty marks the significant milestone of being the band's 10th full-length studio album. All the compositions on The Hearts Of Empty are performed by David Buxton with a perfectly sparse instrumentation. This sublimely minimal combination of piano, double-bass and percussive brushes makes for a truly captivating sound. David really exhibits a mastery both in the concise nature of the arrangements as well as in their precise delivery. Every note sounds as if it is played with directed emotion, carefully placed and skillfully executed. Of course, it's a cliché from the jazz scene, "it's the notes you don't play..." but the grain of truth within this generalization certainly applies to Dakota Suite. Their music is at times sombre, meditative and withdrawn, but never is it forced or over-cluttered. Every melodic and rhythmic change seems to flow naturally with the result that the music creates a wonderfully relaxed listening environment. Indeed, jazz has a strong musical influence on the style of the songs; most noticeable in the lilting piano refrain of "Eskimo Nebula" and the impeccable rim-shot and brushes drum work on "Vermont Canyon Road." And while this rich, organic acoustic timbre pervades the entire album, there are a few exceptions, such as the scientifically-titled interlude "M-Theory" and the entrancing ambient tune "The Ladder," which see a brief excursion into the more digital world of experimental electronics through the use of synths and looping. The energy of the recordings conveys a well-defined mood, such as on the title track, which is reserved yet uplifting at the same time. Although Dakota Suite may be inspired by jazz, they have taken it in an entirely different direction. The Hearts Of Empty goes way beyond the traditional concept of a jazz trio, foraying into fields such as new music, experimental and neo-classical, amongst other new terrains.