Before his current blurred visions of grace, Andrew Chalk had already intuited that unrefined yet enthralling forms of beauty lie in the cross-pollination of noisy structures and latent tranquillities. First, Second And Third Drop was a firm gesture towards the non-believer, the invitation to a feast of bowed metal, wooden flutes, hissing steam and shifting drones that finds many points in common with that other legendary lone wolf named David Jackman, not coincidentally a subsequent collaborator. The five tracks of this strong album – originally recorded in 1986 and only now out of the archives – seem to symbolize the stages of an initiation.
A short introductive assault on the ears comes from the initial “Procession”, the prosecution of the harsh ritual of ringing clangour visible in “The Flying Fish” (here the Organum association is almost inevitable). After the acrid baptism, things start to change quite noticeably, “Advent” being the turning point of the disc: the noise is inescapable despite a discernible harmony at work beneath the shrieks, an unreal cavernous chorale of energies that would like to stretch while being pushed back by a petrifying stare from the gods of inexplicable racket. Still, they’re flirting with sensual numbness, the intangibility of what all this means at the basis of a state of disheartenment.
The cycle gets its completion with the two final segments: “It’s Past” is a mist of brittle harmonics generated by some sort of celestial body drifting around perplexity, while “The Sky Collapsed” seals the pact between useless questioning and acceptation of unawareness, a healing caress of droning resonance and singing birds on the head of the poor beings who were convinced of their personal advancement, but will always remain mere casualties of anachronism.