The moody, twilight tones of RVA-based drummer and composer Scott Clark’s “Dawn & Dusk” are at once a continuation and departure from his previous works. There is the slow burn of his Native American project, the tragic history of “Bury My Heart” and the pipeline resistance of “ToNow,” and the Rilke-inspired, stripped-down solo percussion of “Darkness.”
But this time the music, while remaining resolutely minimalistic, is harmonically expanded by the addition of piano, while the message is made more overt by Laura Ann Singh’s crystalline vocals. The songs are rooted in the crepuscular uncertainties of the COVID era, more often seeking transcendence by going deep rather than cutting loose.
The local all-star band – which includes trumpeter Bob Miller, saxophonist J.C, Kuhl, bassist Adam Hopkins, and pianist Michael McNeill – plays with intuitive restraint. And Laura Ann Singh, known for her work with Miramar, Quarto Na Bossa, and soon, for Doug Richards epochal Antonio Carlos Jobim project, is a jewel of the local scene. The record is effectively two EPs back-to-back. The four songs, “The Wind,” “Dawn & Dusk,” “Silent Singing,” and “Above the Gray,” are cycled through twice on separate sessions. The first was in Lance Koehler’s Minimum Wage studio, the second in front of a live audience at Spacebomb Records. There are enough differences between the versions to justify the repetition. Like virtually all music, “Dawn & Dusk” reveals new layers gains through repeat listening.
The release party is at Artspace, Sunday, Aug. 27, at 7:30 p.m. Admission cost is tiered to the media selected for the album. The $15 admission includes “Dawn & Dusk” download card, and it’s $20 a CD, and $30 an LP, with additional artwork and lyric sheet.