Sarah Pagé
Dose Curves

by Jim Di Gioia

March 23, 2018

Harpist Sarah Pagé casts a mesmerizing spell of sounds.


I made a new acquaintance recently who practices hypnotism. Since our initial conversation on the subject (where he explained to me how the mind is a malleable elastic susceptible to influence under the right conditions) and a brief, but powerful taste of what it’s like to be in a trance and under the influence, I can’t stop thinking about being hypnotized. Experiencing my conscious and unconscious grappling in a tug of war with my thoughts was both frightening and liberating; I felt as if I was seeing and experiencing everything from a distance, but I undeniably recognized myself in the moment.

No surprise that with my current hypnotic obsession, I’ve become equally preoccupied by the work of harpist Sarah Pagé. Her 2017 five-song release Dose Curves does for the harp what Colin Stetson does for sax and respectfulchild does does for violin. Pagé casts a mesmerizing spell of sounds, channeling her playing through various electronic effect techniques. Though one composition is called “Stasis”, there’s nothing sedentary about Pagé’s chiaroscuro playing creating circular shadows and bursts of light like flickering candles, or a dimming star. I’ve used hypnotic as an adjective for music before, but it’s never felt more appropriate than it does to describe the extended passages of “Pleiades”. The music transfixes me, walks me down an endless flight of stairs, and brings me to that indescribable place where I can look into my own eyes and see my thoughts from within and without.

Dose Curves is not sleep-inducing; it’s consciousness-heightening.

Jim Di Gioia

Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.

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