[11 February 2009]
Rarely does an album challenge you on an emotional level so that it becomes near impossible not to listen to the very end without pause. The End of Trying is one such record. Recorded in houses as far-flung as Yorkshire and Connecticut during a two-year period, Dakota Suite’s latest is a deeply personal and beguiling instrumental movement of minimalist melancholia. This time British songwriter/guitarist/pianist/composer Chris Hooson’s collaborators are Grammy-nominated cellist David Darling accompanied by two semi-regulars, David Buxton and Colin Dunkley, who take turns on piano.
When listening, you get the sense that there’s as much going on during the introspective pauses in the music as there is between the duet of free-falling piano chords and ethereal seesawing cello that wash around them. Hooson has never been one to shy away from his fragile state of mind, or the frustrations of supporting Everton FC, either in his chamber pieces or the brooding country folk he released on the German label Glitterhouse. With The End of Trying, he has created an uncommonly sublime movement of sonic contemplation—in turns deeply saddening and strangely uplifting.