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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Drifting In Silence - Away [ Labile Records Inc - 2019]

The birth of Ambient, as a genre, is usually credited to Brian Eno's, 1978 album Ambient 1: Music for Airports. However, in my opinion, this genre appeared much earlier- as you can clearly hear it’s presence in the early work of both Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. Since the 1970s, Ambient has evolved into an independent genre, giving rise to many different sub-genres, that are sometimes quite  different it's original form . This recently released album sits in the decidedly light & airy side of the genre.

Drifting In Silence is an all the work of North Carolina based Derrick Stembridge- with the projects debut album Ladderdown appearing in 2006. Since then, Drifting In Silence's discography has grown to take in full-length albums, two EPs and one digital release. All albums, except for the digital album Waves Of Consciousness, were released on the American label Labile Records Inc. So, in 2019, after a two-year hiatus, Labile Records Inc released a new album from the project Away. The album was released digitally and as a CD.
 
The albums cover is a black and white image of a fragment of a torn butterfly wing lying on a white background. The wing occupies almost half of the entire cover space, located in the upper right corner. Close to the bottom of the cover, in the middle, the name of the project is written in a small thin technological font. A little lower, with a shift to the right, is a larger album name "Away", made in a classic font. The whole cover is made in the form of a photocopy, and I'm not think if  it's very successful, as I'm not convinced by the balance of the elements. However, I think that the idea of the cover reflects the mood of the musical part of the album very well.
 
The album lasts a little over fifty-nine and a half minutes and consists of ten tracks. On the new album, Derrick Stembridge continues and develops the overall musical line begun in previous albums. It’s a pretty airy, light Ambient, with an impressive amount of layers and wonderful atmospheric stereo. Compositions evolve slowly, moving from fairly simple droning soundscapes to multifaceted melodic structures, which can include imitation of strings or keys, as well as sequences in the spirit of classical electronics. These sequences play the main rhythmic role, however, the album contains a certain number of drum parts, which add to the overall sound picture a mood more suitable to the New Age style. The general atmosphere of the album is light, mobile and bright soundscapes, yet there is still depth and saturation. When listening, sometimes there is a feeling of flying. For me, the closest comparisons to Drifting In Silence music are Vidna Obmana, Oophoi, Alio Die, Brian Eno, and perhaps one of the classics of the Berlin School of Electronic Music.
 
I didn’t hear any significant bad on Away. However, equeally I didn’t hear anything really original. This album is an excellent and masterful use of ideas that have already been used by others in the genre.But, in our time, when it is already difficult for an experienced listener to be surprised at something, this approach to writing music is very correct and logical. So Away can’t be seen as an masterpiece. But it’s a great and blanced, if not very inventive album that will undoubtedly take pride of place in the collection of any fan of the Ambient genre.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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