Southwest Virginians Mike and Cara Gangloff have been exploring the world in the last couple years, playing a personal, rural music that draws on Mike's decades with Pelt and Black Twig Pickers, on age-old tunes learned from Appalachian masters and on an improvisatory songcraft all their own. The brand new “Black Ribbon of Death, Silver Thread of Life” is a kind of sonic map of their travels together, looking back into memory and ahead to destinations that so far have been barely glimpsed. Heavy acoustic drones sit alongside stark a capella — sometimes choral — singing. Traditional scratchy fiddle tunes are rendered in combinations with hurdy gurdy and sruti box. The Gershwins are invoked, as are Charley Patton and the folk artist and banjoist Jenes Cottrell. Friends add their voices and instruments and dancing. There is mourning and struggle and
a celebration of survival amid loss and the flowering of new love. The whole package is housed in super eye-blowing artwork by Jake Blanchard, who's making a habit of creating stunning visual interpretations of Klang family sounds.