Black Angel Drifter

On its original 2016 release Black Angel Drifter found Hacker and Anne, long term collaborators from Morton Valence, trading under a new and temporary moniker. Four years on, and with a vinyl release on Cow Pie Records, it’s considered an integral part of the Morton Valence canon.

Black Angel Drifter is the theme to an imaginary western where the presiding deities might be Leon Payne and Hank Quinlan; a soundtrack to an immersive experience yet to be presented.

They’ve always embraced a disturbed lounge tendency, though ever allied to quality songwriting, and those voices born to sing together. This may appear psychic wacko music; Morricone undone by Daniel Lanois on the brown acid; but once you’re attuned the beauty reveals itself.

Crickets are ubiquitous, preluding opener ‘Skylines Change/Genders Blur’. An excursion into found sound, weird wireless snippets, and discordant fragments gradually taking shape as something from the Lee and Nancy playbook. Also the first of Alan Cook’s striking pedal-steel contributions.

Cook features on ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ along with whiplash and police radio.‘If I Could Start Over Again’ is dark prison cell confessional while ‘Trail Of Tears’ a dreamscape materialising into the physical and palpably a weeping song. A striking re-working of Dylan’s ‘Man In The Long Black Coat’ finds Hack and Anne shadowing each other’s voices.

Those crickets return for the John Cage tribute ‘24’33″’; a sprawling ambient piece that twenty minutes in becomes a brief acoustic interlude maybe titled ‘Fire Club’ before more damned chirruping.