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Cello Noise Finds Surreal Beauty Between The Cracks

Michael Beharie and Teddy Rankin-Parker's collaborative debut exists somewhere between neoclassical and electronic music, where the lines aren't so much blurred but broken.

In some spots, A Heart From Your Shadow, which was mixed by Jim O'Rourke and mastered by James Plotkin, occupies recent realms found in the adventurous compositions of Giant Claw and Seth Graham, and in others, rapturous cello noise and minimalist meditations based around hypnotic percussion. It is restless music seeking relief, full of cracked creatures seeking comfort.

The duo have known each other for over a decade, but have only recently begun making music together. Still, each of their credits lists is long. Michael Beharie has appeared on recent albums by Laurel Halo and Greg Fox, and is a new member of the avant-chamber group Zs. Teddy Rankin-Parker has performed, toured and recorded with Iron & Wine, Pauline Oliveros and Father John Misty.

"Paper Tiger" is among the album's most bombastic compositions, with flurries of strings both acoustic and synthetic sweeping through smashed noise and glass.

"The video for 'Paper Tiger' offers a dystopian vision of technology's ironclad grip," Beharie and Rankin-Parker tell NPR Music of the animation by Eduardo Enrique Meza. "We watch ourselves create our own glitchy avatars, inserting ourselves into a digital void and grappling with the 24-hour news cycle and the barrage of all-too-often vapid social media. Images of organic life offer a brief respite, but are fleeting and often viewed through a cracked screen. In the end we are left with a moment of peace and hope as the rain feeds the growth of new flowers on a telephone pole."

In its own surreal vision and abstract soundtrack, "Paper Tiger" is a reminder that beauty is just within arms' reach.

A Heart From Your Shadow is out now via Mondoj Records.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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