In time for Record Store Day, Drøne's A Perfect Blind is available as a 500-unit vinyl release and digital download. It's an ambitious, textured work that aims high and, for the most part, delivers.
Mark Van Hoen and Mike Harding pulled in an impressive host of musicians for this follow-up to their 2016 debut, reversing into the future. Oleg Belyaev and Charlie Campagna make key contributions on baroque cello and cello, respectively, while Paul Haslinger is here on piano, Bethan Kellough plays violin and viola and Marie Takahashi plays baroque viola. Pomperipossa Records boss Anna von Hausswolff adds vocals.
It's the pairing of these classical instruments with field recordings, shortwave and other sounds that makes this such a compelling listen. Van Hoen and Harding share an approach to composition that celebrates both conventional and unconventional musical instruments. As the cliché goes, the result is greater than the sum of its parts.
There's a wonderful moment, 15 minutes into "cutting the screen," in which a wall of white noise builds to a crescendo, only to fall sharply and suddenly. It's jarring but exhilarating. With another four minutes to go, the shift feels boldly modern.
There are just two tracks here, both clocking in at close to 19 minutes each, and A Perfect Blind will leave you wanting more. There are one or two lulls as the works unfold, but that's nitpicking; the only real disappointment here is that this remarkable collection of musicians didn't record another one or two pieces. (Pomperipossa Records)