The one horn of the many-pronged San Francisco collective Jewelled Antler that remains constantly vital and engaging to me is their ambient instrumental bend. The recent albums by Thuja and Franciscan Hobbies play out like field recordings captured from the Middle Ages by some mad scientist audio historian. What these bands lack in the way of songs they come through big in mood and spirit. OV’s duo of Christine Boepple and Loren Chasse are keeping this lovelight shining on perfectly titled Noctilucent Valleys. The focus here is largely on the drone, on the subtle shifts in texture, the wending of a river of sound. What distinguishes this release from others of its ilk is this group’s willingness to thread technology into their archaic musings. Tracks like “Arms of the Mountain” are both pastoral and metallic, with a relentless analogue throb set against a plaintive and majestic mandolin melody. “Ghosts of the Future” follows with the same effect; bent circuits spark at the base of a rural arrangement of acoustic guitar and bells. The cavernous echo of electronics on “The Noctilucent Cloud” calling out like a mid-summer invitation for stargazing is probably the most thoroughly calming moment on the album as well as its most modern. It’s an enjoyable blurring of the sound lines and ideal incidental music for folklore movies yet to be filmed.
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