Barely a year has passed since Moscow’s Dronarivm label began producing physical releases, and they’ve already become a name to trust. With Day Has Ended, Dronarivm now branches into the territory of modern composition. The pairing of cross-pond artists Aaron Martin and Christoph Berg is both natural and fluid. Martin hasn’t sounded this good since River Water and Berg since Acoustic Tales (recorded as Field Rotation). Each artist has brought their best; the challenge of a split release has been a clear inspiration.
Martin’s half stretches from sunup to sundown, while Berg’s half tumbles into the night. A clear change of timbre occurs at the midway point, but it can be heard earlier in the dark organ tones of “Night Never Came”. A lynchpin to the album’s success, this piece descends like final red curve of the sun. The thin cello lines that close the piece allow Berg to pick up the thread and to begin weaving a new coat. The passing of the baton is done with such tenderness that it allows the album to unfurl as one work instead of two. Such attention would not be needed on a cassette or record, which contains a natural break, but is integral on a CD/digital release. Because the full moon always rises at dusk, this night is not a transition from light to dark, but from light to another kind of light. The image makes a perfect metaphor for this elegant and meditative set.
While the album is best enjoyed as a whole, each half contains moments of singular grace. After setting the stage with delicate wind chimes and plucked banjo on the opening tracks, Martin adds ghostly tendrils of breathy, wordless vox to “Comfort of Shadow”, producing an ethereal effect. As deep cello tones enter to balance the equation, one hears the notes unfolding in tandem. And Berg’s highlight moment arrives on “Today Has Been Alright”, as a melodic piano base becomes the anchor around which the rest of the composition unfolds. Only one clear question remains: now that the two have carried off an impressive split, how about a fully interactive collaboration? (Richard Allen)