Dakota Suite | Vampillia – The Sea Is Never Full


CD – Karaoke Kalk

When we first listen to the first part of The Sea is Never Full, we soon feel that this is a classical remembrance and holy composition, with piano weaves and sequences run by experimental and free improvisation guitar developments and the use of chordophones, strings and bass. The atmospheres are dark but not too insisting and extreme, though later they get more raw. The reason is a cathartic proof of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, where the Dakota Suite were on tour during the days of the epic catastrophe. The Dakota Suite are made by Chris Hooson and David Buxton and often feature different artistic partnerships for their works: this time they worked with the Vampillia, an alternative Osaka band which usually shows a creative chaos full of free-form suggestions. The contribution of the Japanese band here is important to add the scores an orchestral sign. Despite the work with the Vampilla already starting some months before Fukushima, obviously the emotional impact due to the disaster is the work’s core: the devastating sense of loss, the feeling of helplessness, the different phases of the tragedy, the powerful images of death and sufferance of the survivors (some pieces of wood float over the water, the mind goes to the idea these were parts of some old dwellings of the disaster victims). The sea has always been a main inspiration for the artists: here this element is even more significant, due to the tsunami shock wave, the spread of the radiation, the disease trail the nuclear disaster left. The sea has always been able to absorb anything, however the music cannot define this fullness but just give some parts, only the scoria and the debris, some shocks and emotions hardly contained. Rather than melodic, this is a tonal song, a Japanese throat song called rekukkara, an ancient technique which is the most significant moment of this dramatic audio choreography. The song reminds us, in an unconventional way, of some funeral elegies from the western tradition. These lyrical expressions can go beyond the distances of space, time and culture. In this case they pay something to their own matter, which is already infected and destined to a slow and irreparable degradation process.


  • Dakota Suite | Vampillia – The Sea Is Never Full