Strange Days Present Black Sea Dahu
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White Creatures – the debut full-length from Swiss outfit Black Sea Dahu – is the type of record that will rearrange your internal architecture and, ultimately, make you see the world and yourself anew. If you let it. When you press play, you are basically committing to a vision quest, an x-ray like rendering of the human condition as experienced by vocalist and songwriter, Janine Cathrein. The entire journey – because that’s what it feels like – is set to a gritty, dusty, yet orchestrally rich and cinematic take on the urban folk aesthetic. The arrangements sound huge throughout, as they support and amplify the carefully calibrated and emotionally saturated songwriting (and performances) – the type that you would normally expect from artists with a long discography. This, on the other hand, is just “day one” of the project.
In line with the singer-songwriter / auteur tradition, White Creatures is not only a very personal document, but also a very intimate and generous space. Stepping into its welcoming circumference is like bearing witness to, and partaking in, an alchemical transmutation. The mundane becomes enchanted. White creatures seep into waking reality. The fixed, conceptual boundaries between the city and nature dissolve completely (truthfully, they were never really there). The world becomes one, even if only in passing and in promise. Time and space collapses on itself, memories overlap with the inexhaustible stream of the voracious mighty now. And the gritty, bluesy elements of life – the disaffect, the loneliness, the heartbreak, the occasional numbness of spirit; what we normally think of as the ugly side of life – suddenly become both precious and beautiful, and not only bearable, but something of a portal to a personal ecstasy of sorts. This is life as art and vice versa. And what it takes to get there requires a self-annihilating transparency and total surrender from the artist – on White Creatures you get nothing but!
The motley, Merry Prankster like gang of collaborators that helped Janine fulfil her sonic vision included: Simon Cathrein (baby brother, trained forester, cello player, percussionist and keys man), Vera Cathrein (big sister, seamstress, electric guitar and bass player), Paul Märki (urban nomad, trained polygraphist, guitarist and bass player), Nick Furrer (barista, drummer, percussionist), Ramon Ziegler (teacher, piano and keys man). On occasion, this crew / family bands together in different configurations (duo, quintet, full band) to bring this music to a live audience. In closing, a bit about Janine. She is a poet of sound and word, a visionary, delivery dispatch operator and one hell of a bike messenger. She is also known for trading homemade strawberry jam and chilli oil for guitar, drum, keys, bass and singing lessons.