Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Resonant Drift - The Call

Read review at Morpheus

Resonant Drift - The Call
Smooth beatless ambience (mostly). The Call is a silky soft album of delicate pads and airy textures where subtle synthetic melodies and understated phrases unfold in graceful, ponderous restraint. Ambient but not quite minimal, there is plenty going on among the shifting undulations, tonal flushes and the rise and fall of the drones - ethnic rhythm elements: shakers, rattles and padding drums - sequencer patterns that burble effortlessly or distantly, afar off in the atmospheric distance of the music - environmental sounds: the twitter of birds, insect-like chirrs and susurration. A number of tracks drift with a tranquil fragility as if immersed in radiant cobwebs of sound, gossamer sheets wafting in the undertow of unseen celestial currents - luminous, tranquil, calm. Plaintive strains well up here and there vaguely suggestive of the cries of sea creatures, breath-like movements heave as if heard from within, chime lattices clank in cycles, barely discernable low booms and static motes punctuate and pierce.

The mood of this album shifts gently from track to track - there are heavenly passages of ethereal light and weightlessness, earthy sections where the faint, ephemeral clatters and granular disturbances of field recordings spot the sound surface, some shadowy expanses of woofy texture or spacey gloom. The dominant character of the album for me is one of an uplifting sense of warm floatation - this pleasant recurrent feel often has the listener blissfully entranced, bathed in the glow of a quiet sunshine.

The Call comes as a jewel case presentation with a three panel insert. Artwork throughout consists of controlled depth of field photographs where the soft focus forms of the artists are frequently present in middle distance. The front cover is divided into three broad bars - rock textures, hazy vistas, the comfortable presence of the Resonant Drift duo partially blurred into their environment. The rear cover holds a tracklist with time for each; website details and a credit to Steve Roach. The insert when unfolded has an outdoor side given mostly over to more location based imagery and an indoor side: here a large studio shot enlivened with motion blur forms a spreading panorama with a smaller monochrome studio still to the top right. Each artist has a paragraph of thanks at the extreme left whilst brief recording details are placed at the right.

Resonant Drift here release their fourth album and follow-up to the 2006 release Flow Mingled Down. The Resonant Drift project was formed in 2004 by Bill Olien - the debut album was self titled with Version 2.0 coming soon after in 2005. It wasn't until 2008 that the second member arrived in the form of multi-instrumentalist Gary Johnson. The current CD features twelve tracks of shorter ambient recordings - from two minutes fifty to seven minutes fifty two seconds. Citing as their influences such ambient masters as Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Jonn Serrie, Paul Ellis, Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno - you get an idea of what to expect from this album. Indeed Steve Roach is credited with 'mastering and sonic enhancement' - the touch of the Timeroom evident in the impressive depth and quality of The Call.

If you enjoy ambient music that uplifts and warms the soul this is an album for you. That said - The Call is not all soft clouds and warm light, there is abundant variety and contrasting shade too. This album is certainly worth sampling via the band's Myspace page.


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