In the current edition of Willamette Week, Jonathan Frochtzwajg spoke to local instrumental virtuoso Ben Darwish about his "fantasy folk-step" collaboration with folk trio the Shook Twins, The Clear Blue Pearl. Frankly, the whole concept made me a bit nervous. All those words fill me with a bit of dread. I mean, generally speaking, I'm cool with folk music, and I don't have the vehement, kneejerk dislike of dubstep that some folks do (I'm sort of an honorary member of the scene, after all). But combining the two? It doesn't sound like a hybrid that would make much sense. Plus, I'm one of about a dozen people left on earth who's never seen a single Lord of the Rings movie and have no desire to, so anything with the word "fantasy" in it automatically makes me skeptical.
Fortunately, if this demo of this track from Blue Pearl -- a concept album about a couple searching for water amid a drought, which Darwish will debut tonight at the Alberta Rose Theater -- is any indication, the project is a lot more tastefully done than I imagined. More folk than dubstep, this gorgeous, piano-focused ballad moves along on a stream of soaring harmonies from Darwish and the Twins, with only the vaguest rhythmic nod to the dubstep style.
It'll be interesting to hear how it all fits together as a full piece, but based on this sneak peek, I'm down to listen -- as long as there are no wizards or elves involved.