Valance Drakes – An Angel in Alliance with Falsehood

11.15.19 by Ryan Masteller

“If you’re not familiar with outsider Bulgarian electronic label Amek Collective, rectify that immediately! (And yes, I realize how pompous that sounds.)” 

This is what I added to my post on Present Listening, the Facebo… internet social media website group that fosters conversation about what the heckity heck you’re listening to RIGHT NOW. I was listening to Valance Drakes, “An Angel in Alliance with Falsehood,” which I had received in the mail one day earlier. When I get excited about something, I don’t wait long to dig into it. I was not disappointed in the slightest.

I also realize that the alleged pomposity of that initial statement comes off as genuine and respectful within the Tabs Out community. I honestly assume that the discerning audience here possesses a bit of familiarity with most of the stuff I write about, so I lock in to that wavelength instead of serving as a guidepost to suggestion. In fact, I expect you to be more “in the know” than I’ll ever be.

So you should all have your copies of “An Angel in Alliance with Falsehood,” and as such we can all press play together and listen to it as a group. The first thing we should all realize is that this is a Serious Endeavor, with caps. Before the first sound squirts from the speaker we’re privy to treatises as track titles, philosophical musings that will only serve to underpin the sonics that ensue. “Roses Are Not Armour.” “Expression of the Soul’s Desire to Escape.” “Looking at Heaven Puzzled and Defeated.” And there are seven more where that came from! It’s like Valance Drakes spent an entire four-year college experience listening to post-rock and majoring in creative writing. There’s probably a literal degree in that somewhere. (It’s either Harvard or Trump University, two great learning institutions on the cutting edge of literature.)

But the work here fully underscores the literary weightiness infusing these tracks. Valance Drakes peddles a darkish ambient, a minor-key synth world where a hardscrabble existence perpetuates itself in the shadows, poking its head out into the daylight only periodically before re-submerging itself in its desperate business. Scuttling glitches punctuate “An Angel,” which juxtapose themselves with the more tranquil ambience in what seems to be the central theme of flawlessness or characteristics above reproach being lowered or debased – entropy in action. As usual, it takes an enlightened gearhead to weave together a wordless narrative of perpetual decay before we even take notice that we’re headed down an irreversible path with our corroding humanity, passengers in the proverbial handbasket on its way to hell. Great tunes piping over the system though!

Rectify, rectify, rectify your unfamiliarity with Amek that I know doesn’t even exist because you’re so with it! “An Angel” limited to 111 copies. Divisor of the beast!