Our Daily Bread 555: Sara Noelle, Dexter Dine, La Tene

January 23, 2023

New Contributor Alert: Gillian Stone’s inaugural reviews roundup for the Monolith Cocktail

Joining the team in 2023, Gillian Stone is a multi-instrumentalist and interdisciplinary artist originally from the Pacific Northwest and based in Toronto, Canada. Through her eponymous vocally-driven post-rock/drone folk solo project, she has released two singles, “Bridges” and Shelf, and her debut EP, Spirit Photographs. Stone holds a BFA in Jazz Studies from Vancouver Island University and an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Toronto. Drawing from her eclectic taste, she has worked with Michael Peter Olsen (Zoon, The Hidden Cameras), Timothy Condon and Brad Davis (Fresh Snow, Picastro), The Fern Tips (Beams) Völur (Blood Ceremony), NEXUS (Steve Reich), and visual artist Althea Thauberger.

Sara Noelle ‘Do I Have To Feel Everything’
27th January 2023

Do I Have to Feel Everything, Sara Noelle‘s third album, oozes vulnerability and expresses feelings both directly and allegorically through naturalistic themes. Ever present are the Los Angeles-based artist’s soothing, velveteen vocals which deliver melodies that often sweep into unexpected places. Produced by Dan Duszynski (Loma), the album pays homage to its influences while also managing to hold its own. The opening track, “Blooming Yucca”, begins with a bassline that is distantly PJ Harvey-esque, like something from To Bring You My Love, while “Slip Away” gives a gentle nod to Harvey’s White Chalk. The title track, “Do I Have to Feel Everything”, transitions into an 80’s synth vibe. This aesthetic evolves further in “Sun Fades the Pain”, which evokes a sonic landscape of The War on Drugs being interpreted through the lens The High Priestess archetype. Perhaps the most stunning moment on the album is “Dust Clouds” moving into “Hum”; the former being an interlude built with creepy, beautiful, natural
ambient soundscapes, and the latter being a journey of unexpected chord progressions. Do I Have to Feel Everything is a gorgeous and gentle journey that ebbs and flows like water on a calm day.

Dexter Dine ‘Flood’
31st January 2023

Dexter Dine’s Flood is best listened to with headphones. The self-defined Brooklyn, NY-based “apartment rocker” conjures a diverse and expansive sound that is a “mixture of melodic samples, multi-part drum grooves, and off-kilter saxophone solos”. From the Animal Collective vibes of “Flooded Meadows”, “Splatter In Two”, and “Lockeeper”, to the Juana Molina-esque
“Peanutbutter”, to the Bossa Nova feel of “Valley Of Air”, the beats he creates are the driving force behind this electroacoustic pursuit. There is even a touch of Burial in Dine’s sound, which spatially meanders around the physical sonic space – again, excellent for headphone listening. Interspersed throughout Flood are sometimes trilling, sometime harmonized reverby alto sax
parts that congeal the album’s sound into something that stands on its own. In addition to Flood being Dine’s eighth record since mid-2016, and he also does sound design for gallery- based dance performances. Dine is a prolific artist, and his work is ethereal, striking, and drenched in both sunshine and melancholy.

La Tène ‘Ecorcha/Taillée’ 
(Bongo Joe Records) 3rd February 2023

La Tène’s Ecorcha/Taillée is a meditative, minimalist folk masterpiece. It’s two pieces, “L’Ecorcha” and “La Taillée”, travel and swirl in stunning glacial motion. Released by Genevan label Bongo Joe Records, the three core members of the French/Swiss ensemble create a droning, modern artifact by use of harmonium, hurdy-gurdy, and percussion. For Ecorcha/Taillée, the group expanded into a seven-piece, with guest artists contributing guitar, bass, headband, and bagpipes. The album, which was recorded live in a single take, was produced in a cultural centre and ballroom converted from a barn. In line La Tène’s singular folk aesthetic, the main functionality of this space is to build interest in folk music from Auvergne, a region in central France.


The starting minutes of “L’Ecorcha”, which runs at 18:26, establish a repeating, ascending melody that solders the foundation of the album’s trance-like odyssey. Almost unchanging until six minutes in, the piece then slowly swells into a spiraling, understated density. “La Taillée” (14:34, a short piece by the band’s standards) maintains a pulsating minor 2nd chord progression and clave rhythm from start to finish. The piece has distinct parts, starting almost-dance like, breaking into a minimal groove, then descending into a gentle dissonance before softly exploding. Both “L’Ecorcha” and “La Taillée” are utterly captivating and are imbued with experimental triumph. The members of La Tène are avant-garde historians, and the result of their work is a timeless sonic world that is hauntingly beautiful.

Gillian Stone

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