“Hypnotic” has never felt more appropriate as a musical adjective than it does to describe Sarah Pagé’s Dose Curves.
I met someone recently who practices hypnotism. I’m embarrassed to admit my own biases, but they were nothing at all like what I imagined a practicing hypnotist would be like. Since our initial conversation on the subject (where they 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 while still being under the influence of suggestion.
No surprise that with my recent hypnotic obsession, I’ve become equally preoccupied with the work of harpist Sarah Pagé. Dose Curves does for the harp what Colin Stetson does for sax and respectfulchild does for violin. Pagé casts a mesmerizing spell of sounds, channelling her playing through various electronic effect techniques. Though one composition is called “Stasis”, there’s nothing sedentary about Pagé’s chiaroscuro playing; she creates 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 is transfixing and 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.