Debacle Records is pleased to announce its first release from Seattle’s Josh Medina and Paurl Walsh, a seven track affair that sees the duo pushing further out into a shared realm of atmospheric drone, industrial and sample-based work with fragments of Americana, American primitive guitar and psych, turning this broad matrix of influences into a series of dense exercises in tension and release. Having previously explored similar ground with a cassette last year for hometown label Hanged Man, Vault of Angels sees a matured vision from the collaboration,working guitars, keyboards, electronics, and a range of signal processing techniques into a distended, abstracted sense of naturalism, compositions that replicate and elaborate on the misty landscapes of their home state.
Plotted out like exercises in trajectory, each piece explores deliberate motions and vectors, always leaving space for an unexpected break or rupture that leaves their pieces feeling equally meticulous and unexpected. In “Salton Sea,” for instance, the stark melodies of Americana are tied directly into a gauzy wash of droning soundscape, rendering walls of tone that play on the original melodies while pushing them away from an immediately familiar context. Elsewhere, “Muon Derision” sees jagged, interlocking synths slowly give way to dramatic, rising chords and chirping noise elements.
A sense of dialogue between the electronic and organic elements of the group’s sound sits at the core of their work. Washes of industrial sonics play against subtly effected string arrangements, while elsewhere, lush synthesizer swells drift over intricate guitar work, or gradually fade into a wall of chiming echoes, a striking contrast that underscores the pulsing sonics and complexly layered melodies of American primitive guitar. Similar techniques in repetition, sequence structure and texture between the arrangements of American folk music and modern electronic composition traces an exchange of histories and sensibilities at play in Medina/Walsh’s music, mixing modes and forms across a series of progressions that duck and weave, allowing the concepts of both distinct musical traditions to work in tandem.
Working across these wide swaths of American musical history, Vault of Angels sees Medina/Walsh diving deeper into an ever-expanding vocabulary, one that continues to reward listeners with each repeated listen.