The inspired collaboration of Emanuele Errante and Chris Hooson's Dakota Suite project resulted partly out of past work but also out of tragedy: the album is dedicated to and about Hooson's sister-in-law, who had then-recently died. Intent and execution are always two different things in the end, admittedly, but The North Green Down is indeed a lovely, understandably melancholic, full CD's worth of pieces based on Hooson's core piano and guitar parts, and Errante's resultant arrangements, further added to via David Darling's cello on a number of pieces. The results are at times vivid, even visceral; while beautiful, the piano on the opening first part of the title track (split into seven different parts over the course of the album) also has a sudden angry tone that inevitably suggests frustration and loss as much as sorrow, an effect that recurs in various ways, throughout most of the remaining parts of the piece. Errante's additions and production emphasize both space and directness. The near distortion on the deeper, heavier notes makes things feel physically close, further suggested by near-subliminal levels of hiss, ambient noise, and crackle, could be as much from Hooson as Errante, but by emphasizing it instead of trying to hide or swathe it in other textures, Errante continues the feeling of palpability running throughout the album. Individual moments are just as moving as the whole -- "Here in This Silence" is one of the most elegantly sad moments throughout, while songs like "A Worn Out Life (With Cello)" and "They Could Feel the End of All Things" feature Darling's contributions to the fore, beautifully so. But the shuddering, quick-looped distortion and slow piano on "No Greater Pain" might best summarize the album's blend of extremes.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett