As I started writing those lines and hitting the first play on Valance Drakes & Ivan Shopov's Unearthing Buried Chapters, the calming, near-zen rain outside quickly morphed into a dreadful & somehow creepy storm. The sound of thunder bashes through the atmosphere just like the kick of album's second track "A Heart With No Instructions"(feat. Mariya) stomps into my ears through my headphones. I think I am in love. With their sound, with the weather outside, with the blend of chill and worry-some ambiance, with the green out of my window. With this moment. I don't think I will ever be able to re-live this as the album will never feel so "unknown" as in this particular spec of time, but damn - moments like this re-fuel my love for writing about music.
OK, sorry to be spacing out into this, but it felt like the only things that I can pour out of my fingers. Why are you here actually. I am humbled and honoured to be able to premiere and share with you an exclusive stream of the album I mentioned in the first paragraph. Valance Drakes & Ivan Shopov's Unearthing Buried Chapters is a sonic masterpiece.
Before letting you dig into their sound fairy tale, there's someone else I want to introduce you to - our friends from AMEK - a DIY booking collective and a label active in Sofia established in 2008. Currently based between Bulgaria and South Korea, for a decade now, they’ve been challenging the Eastern European cultural reality by presenting international and noise, ambient and avant-garde artists (mostly) in Sofia. The last few years Amek have been steadily expanding their catalog of bold and mostly locally-sourced experimental music, released on tape & vinyl only. They are the main reason why we have the pleasure of sharing this masterpiece with you.
Needless to say - support good independent music here.
By the way, if you've followed us, Ivan Shopov's name should not be foreign. That dude has many faces. Balkansky / Cooh / Drumkid!, the newest member of Bulgarian's progressive/post-rock band smallman. Also, the founder of the independent label ABCD, Ivan has been one of the key figures in Bulgaria's experimental electronic/d&b scene for over a decade now. Truly impressive artist!
This, however, is not a solo journey. He's accompanied by British artist Valance Drakes and if soulful glitch beats is your thing, then there's a lot to explore because that's where the British beat-maker thrives. Valance & Ivan started sketching their shared sonic realms few years ago. Their combined musical efforts have resulted in hundreds of tracks, most of which still remaining hidden and others hinting their doings on several obscure releases. They would often invite each other in the contexts of their solo releases, but with Unearthing Buried Chapters they have decided not to follow their individual formulas, but go beyond them. Their debut collaborative goes beyond musical creation. It's the actual process of shaping and structuring worlds through sounds. It's a simple and honest concept that has resulted in... the beginning of a new world. A world called Unearthing Buried Chapters. A world I just came back from. A magnificent world you're about to enter.
I feel I could write endlessly. As long as those 10 tracks never finish, my brain would travel deeper and deeper into some strange, abstract & forgotten places. I wish I could single out favourite releases, but every single beat, glitch and sound feel perfectly pieced together. All I can say is that it feels refreshing to go back to more experimental sounds as I've had my had burried into instrumental hip hop beats for a while now. Once again, I am in love.
Unearthing Buried Chapters is scheduled for May 12th on vinyl & digital via Amek Collective and Etheraudio Records. Catch Valance Drakes & Ivan Shopov performing live in Sofia for AMEK X - the tenth anniversary event of the label and booking crew Amek.
If you want to support the release, you can pre-order here.