My first exposure to Valance Drakes' art was his early 2018 album Unearthing Buried Chapters - a joint release with one of my favourite Bulgarian electronic artists Ivan Shopov (aka Balkansky aka COOH).
I'm excited to be teaming up with our friends from Amek for the premiere of his new full-length release An Angel In Alliance With Falsehood and before anything, I just need to warn you - strap on, because you're about to enter one insanely captivating sonic universe. I've spend the last week dwelling in those mystical sounds and ambient/drone music doesn't feel the same anymore. The UK producer has set the bar to a whole new level.
An Angel In Alliance With Falsehood was recorded entirely in Bulgaria. Half was completed in Shopov's studio and half in the flat of Liner Output - a producer and member of Sofia-based techno-centered collective Beton. I must say that knowing this made the whole listening experience truly unique. As I was discovering each track, I kept imagining flying over the breath-taking mountains of Bulgaria. You know those dreams you have where you feel like a bird? That's the feeling I'm talking about. I guess its mostly a reflection of how much I miss those lands, but still... such a transcending experience.
Through multi-layered textures, meticulous sound design and breathing rhythmic structures he’s crafted one of the most personal offerings in his ever-evolving discography. Sourced from an array of sonic realms, including recordings from his visits to Sofia, the album carries an autobiographical sincerity.
The album consists of ten touching pieces about trust, honesty and belief but about deceit, muted anger and hurt. With the same ease Valance Drakes is transforming sounds, he’s managed to reshape this plethora of polar feelings into beautiful and overwhelming sense of hope.
Being a long time post-rock fan, seeing rather unorthodox track titles is also something I greatly appreciate. While it would not make me like or dislike a song, it definitely adds to the way I perceived the album. When it comes to An Angel In Alliance With Falsehood, I would recommend listening to the whole thing... at least for the very first time. Personally, I need to be in a specific mood in order to fully appreciate ambient and drone music, so once I get into the zone, I stay in it, so the natural development of the album felt like perfection. Not that it matters, but if I do need to pick my favourite track so far, that would be "Weak Humans, Wise Demons". Feels like a darker Burial blended with Boards of Canada.
Before I wrap this up, I want to highlight the beauty of album's artwork crafted by Greek artist Vaia Pilafa.