Hymes Apophatique is the latest album from French musician Delphine Dora, recorded last year during a residency at the church of St Saphorin, Switzerland. Delphine recorded her improvised music on the church organ, an instrument she fully respects and recognises, and this level of respect comes through in her music.
Although traditionally confined to the dusty recesses of a church, the organ is so much more than an instrument of devotion. Delphine isn’t afraid to open the doors and push the sound of the organ out and into the modern world. No hesitation is found in her music, and in her wish to spread its wings.
With so many pedals and tonalities, the organ can be an intimidating instrument, not something to necessarily master but to temporarily hold the reins and somehow snake-charm its tones. Delphine manages to remain in control at all times while still respecting its background and rich history. Somehow, the organ exhales with the unfathomable weight of history.
One of the most interesting elements of Hymes Apophatique is the introduction of her voice, which accompanies the instrument, partaking in a slow, entangled dance, but never blotting it out or overshadowing it. Trenches of deep reverence, respect, and awe are maintained. Other sections are incredibly melodic, sometimes sounding like an echo from a fantastical forest and at other times carrying medieval undertones. All the while, though, the organ is airy and well ventilated.
Its reverent nature is not lost – not even a drop – as it steps forward into the glowing sun of a new dawn.