Artificial, the latest offering from Drifting in Silence, is a return to form, DiS owing its beginnings to the wave of musical innovation that was just becoming known at the time as ambient music.
Derrick Stembridge, the beating heart behind Drifting in Silence, affirms, "This album is going back to the roots of the project for me. Pure ambient." A glimpse back is no denial, however, of new influences and the project's continuing musical growth. Artificial pays homage, of course, as does the entire genre, to Brian Eno. But, Stembridge says, "this album is heavily influenced by William Basinski."
In Artificial, gone is the hard-driving multilayered percussion of previous most recent releases—though the music, itself, is as multilayered as ever. That Stembridge can successfully marry the structured with the ambient is, and has always been, his particular genius.
"Empty," the opening track, serves as an overture for the rest of the album, stating the return-to-ambience in unequivocal terms. Melody is there, in a repeating melodic pattern continually stated and restated for the listener, with background ambient harmonies providing a changing context with each restatement. Structure and rhythm, too, are present, but without the necessity of explicit beat. Following tracks develop further variations whose elements, upon examination, were already present. The voices of individual instruments come to the fore; even vocals make themselves known through subtle vocoder treatments, recognizable as voices but without allowing words to distract.
For those who have followed Drifting in Silence along its journey, Artificial will welcome back DiS' from its forays into loping, locomotive percussive rhythms into soothing yet stirring ambient form—a return that is only enhanced by the awareness that it never really went away.
released January 1, 2016
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