dakota suite heeft opnieuw zo’n unicum gemaakt, en dompelt ons onder in uitgepuurde ballades overgoten met een vette jazzy vleesjus. Die wel triestig blijven, vergis je niet, want “waiting for the dawn to crawl through and take away your life” kun je toch bezwaarlijk een aangenaam vooruitzicht noemen” – het oor

beautiful, tender, damaged and unloved, much like chris hooson himself perhaps feels, these are songs on another planet to anything you’d compare them to. a true talent hidden away (probably intentionally) behind other lesser artists more interested in glossy TV campaigns, magazine covers and BBC interviews, dakota suite have made a great record with no bells, no whistles and no bullshit, but more heart and soul than anything you will hear this year” – pennyblack
NME gave Signal Hill an “8 out of 10.” Melody Maker praised them with 4 Stars! “Dakota Suite’s singer Chris Hooson is very, very sad indeed, and it sounds magnificent. Employing cellos, violins and the ever-trustworthy harmonium, Dakota Suite offer their bruised and battered heart to us, with painstakingly gorgeous, lush and brooding rock”. – Independant

I mean, at times, Dakota Suite can outdo even the best of the woe-is-me sad sacks: American Music Club, Will Oldham, Red House Painters’ Mark Kozelek. But I’ll admit, it’s probably been a while since a singer/songwriter’s morbid depression has translated into such a surprisingly simple, beautiful record. “- pitchfork

Who knows if Dakota Suite will release another record? There’s certainly more than enough room for more of this. Beautiful, tender, damaged and unloved, much like Chris Hooson himself perhaps feels, these are songs on another planet to anything you’d compare them to. A true talent hidden away (probably intentionally) behind other lesser artists more interested in glossy TV campaigns, magazine covers and BBC interviews, Dakota Suite have made a great record with no bells, no whistles and no bullshit, but more heart and soul than anything you will hear this year” – pennyblack

‘The End of Trying’ is an instrumental record with Chris (Dakota Suite) accompanied by David Darling on cello. It is an absolutely stunning piece of music. I adore it. Chris Hooson’s music deserves to be heard by more people. It is beautiful. It is tender. It feels like somebody who has struggled with life pouring out everything he has onto his piano. A flood of heart and soul. If you believe that music comes from a place deep within somebody’s being. If you care about music like that, then you are going to adore Dakota Suite. Knowing the story of Chris’ life. His battle with depression it’s hard not to be affected by his work. Even his own words about his forthcoming record ‘The North Green Down’ and other future releases tell a story. He says “and how they can be released without everyone getting more bored than they already are with my whining caustic pointlessness”… I for one don’t think I could ever tire of this man’s work. If you can find a musician who puts more of himself into the music I would be surprised. Dakota Suite is tender. Dakota Suite is tragic. Ultimately Dakota Suite’s music is beautiful and whilst the story might be bleak the music will leave you warm and happy. Of that I am sure. Please check out his work. Enjoy.” – the steinberg principle

Have you ever found a band that upon listening to their music, your entire body breathes a sigh of relief? When music stirs up from just a single note and slowly begins to entwine itself around every fibre of your body; you start to realise that this is a lot more than just music. This is someone’s soul personified through sound. The End Of Trying is a desperately barren record that is devoid of hope and brimming with melancholy. It’s as stark as it is sparse and holds a beauty that simply cannot be described within a review. Hear it, feel it, cry to it, scream to it, relax to it, it doesn’t matter, just get it.
This album has been given a 9 for the simple fact that it’s a number below what is considered “perfect” so please keep in mind that this album doesn’t deserve a representative “score”. It deserves more than that, it demands more than that. It’s not perfect (nothing is) but it’s something so unique and incomprehensibly beautiful that just the act of bestowing a digit upon it is almost an offence.” – strangeglue

This beautiful sad music is clearly not meant to brighten up your day. But it might soothe your sadness with rays of hope shining through empathic, understanding themes and fabulous cello sounds.
‘The End of Trying’ is one of the most beautiful albums I have heard this year, and it even gains strength with the companion CD that was released shortly after the release of the original: “The Night Keeps Coming In”. – ambientblog

The result is so deeply sad, so melancholy and yet fragile, beautiful, that sounds like snowflakes melt when it hits the ear drum. Contemporary classical music with feeling and untold value.” – vallisa, reviewed by

Zeitgenössische Klassik . Für Vallisa spreche ich hiermit eine absolute Empfehlung aus. Pflichtkauf für die unvoreingenommenen, Mutigen unter uns….” – schallgrenzen december 2010
(The result is wonderful, deeply sad music that moves in its delicacy and vulnerability. The beautiful cello playing like a weeping and wailing from the depths of the human soul. Contemporary classical music. I speak for Vallisa an absolute recommendation. A must for the impartial and courageous among us ….)

Stunning Chamber Music created by Dakota Suite’s mastermind Chris Hooson, Cellist and Grammy-Winner David Darling and French piano master Quentin Sirjacq. Together they have created a magic album that easily crosses boundaries between Chamber-Pop, Jazz and Classical, recorded at Vallisa Auditorium, a small chapel in Bari, Italy. The trio conjure a wide range of moods and emotions with their intuitive arrangements, gracefully sweeping us between sombre, melancholic solo piano and graceful chamber pieces with an elegantly solemn atmosphere. This album will nourish the spirit of those in need of a secluded, intimate experience. Lovely.”

“The North Green Down’ also features the marvellous cello of David Darling who creates textures and waves of melancholy unlike anyone else. Almost 80 minutes of fragile pianos, guitars, cello & subtle electronic elements…cinematic, hypnotic & simply beautiful!” – thrilljockey, january 2011

DAKOTA SUITE, Vallisa is probably one of the biggest achievements of 2010. Merging the typical sadness of Dakota Suite with more playfull jazzy moods of David Darling along with abstract improvisations on piano by Quentin Sirjacq (replacing at the last minute Sylvain Chauveau), this could be a very important record for 2011’s modern classic evolution. Buy it.”

Se qualcuno crede ancora che esistano dischi non riducibili all’asetticità di una valutazione critica, ebbene, “The North Green Down” può a pieno titolo annoverarsi tra questi. Perché le personalissime profondità emozionali che hanno ispirato un’opera del genere non sono misurabili, ma meritano soltanto un rispettoso tentativo di interpretarle, di farle proprie, alla ricerca di un’empatia preziosa come quella conseguita dei due artisti che l’hanno realizzata.” – review of ‘the north green down, ondarock

For almost 80 minutes, fragile memories and painful emotions are conjured by an intimate mixture of piano, guitars and cello, sometimes augmented by very light strokes of electronics. The main theme of opener The North Green Down (Part I) is repeated throughout the album under different variations and elaborations, that demonstrate Hooson’s immense talent for composing music of achingly personal and delicate qualities. Case in point being the majestic Part VI featuring David Darling’s cello, telling a spine tingling story of fight and surrender – an absolutely wonderful and emotionally draining experience. Dakota Suite and Emanuele Errante have created a work of immense sensibility, impeccably illustrated by the album cover. This music displays an intimate and impeccable balance of restrain and beauty – an essential album.” – fluid-radio review of ‘the north green down’

Soms kan schoonheid gewoon pijn doen. Een mooier eerbetoon dan dit kan je niet wensen, een mooier album van beide heren eigenlijk ook niet. Dakota Suite en Emanuele Errante hebben een tijdloos en bloedmooi meesterwerk gecreëerd.” – the north green down reviewed by jan willem brook –

this album may go on to inspire a new wave of contemporary jazz-like sounds from artists outside of the discipline, much like what has been occurring with modern day classical music. As such, ‘The Hearts of Empty’ should be considered as an essential album, and one only hopes it will be consumed by many despite its composer’s fascination with solitude.” –


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