Whenever I see that Umor-Rex has released something, it always piques my interest. Driftmachine is the product of a collaboration between a member of Saroos, Florian Zimmer, and a member of Tied & Tickled Trio, Andreas Gerth. I’ll be hoping and praying that this isn’t a one-off collaboration, and you’ll see why once you get a listen of the previews they have available. The two say that this album is supposed to replicate your mood process through a sleepless night. I can’t recall the last time I had a sleepless night, but if it’s anything like the duo have crafted on here I’m more than down to have one. This album makes you feel like you’re among the clouds and in that desirous state of hypnagogia. Naturally, I’d say that this album is best listened at night, or at 1 in the morning like I’m doing as I write this. Preferably, you have a quiet urban backdrop to go along with this or a late night drive on a deserted highway. This will definitely be going among my top albums list of this year. Check out “RĂ©veil des Oiseaux” below via the Soundcloud stream and a preview of all the tracks by clicking through the A Number of Small Things link. Cheers!

 

The Details

Announcing the onset of night, Driftmachine - a Berlin-based duo comprised of Andreas Gerth (Tied & Tickled Trio) and Florian Zimmer (Saroos) - have created Nocturnes, a psychoactive, dream-inducing stimulant of sorts: Evoking and maintaining a trancelike state, the duo’s six-part journey into the dark was originally inspired by reading The Rest Is Noise and listening to the music discussed in Alex Ross’ seminal book. The resulting soundscapes, written and recorded since 2012, redefine the lines between insomnia and slumber, between wraithlike dub grooves gone awry, the dancing flicker of a slack-joint bedside lamp, and eerie electronics.
Nocturnes is essentially comprised of six studies in precision: perfectly symmetrical structures that slowly spread their bass-heavy wings, sprawl like digital fungi, shift shape and – paradoxically – seem to drift and to obey the two captains at the helm. It’s an album of hypnotic and mesmerizing electronic landscapes based on various interlocked layers of rhythm. “Getting deeper into the world of modular systems introduced us to new ways of creating music,” they say, and it also allowed Gerth and Zimmer to redefine and rearrange styles and genres they generally feel drawn to – dub, riddims, anything with bass really –, so the heavy bass and percussive elements of Nocturnes don’t come in the colors you’d expect them to: Driftmachine’s palette stays true to the colors of night, a massive scale of gray.

With its meticulously displaced details and intricate harmony layers, Nocturnes also evokes the electronic avant-garde of the mid-70s, think Cluster during the band’s Zuckerzeit era. Nocturnes keeps the balance between intense, dramatic metrics and rather complex, modulated melodies. Also nodding to Krzysztof Komeda’s compositions (especially his score for Rosemary’s Baby) and the haunting, uncanny vibes of Raime, Nocturnes won’t let you sleep: “To us, the album sounds like staying awake the whole night; it unites all the different moods one might go through.”

All songs produced by Andreas Gerth and Florian Zimmer. Mastered by John Tejada.

Price $17

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