CD Review: Drifting in Silence - Desire

Drifting in Silence embody everything implied in the idea of post-ambient music.
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As is often the case in electronic music, the name Drifting in Silence refers not to a band, but to an individual who does everything himself. His name is Derrick Stembridge, and he is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who has just latest a nine-song album titled Desire. Stembridge calls his music "post-ambient," which is just about the perfect term for this recording. Somehow Drifting in Silence manage to update the ambient genre while retaining the vintage "chill out" vibe of the early Nineties.  

Besides stand-alone recordings, Drifting in Silence have also worked on  videogame soundtracks, such as Ninjatown. There is certainly a cinematic quality to the music of Desire, beginning with the opening "Until." The synth sound is a little dark, but it is the martial beat underneath that really propels things along. This is continued and expanded upon as the set progresses. In many cases, the rhythm conjures imagery of a chase, while the electronic effects offer a range of science-fiction possibilities.

The cliché is to compare the results to that of Blade Runner, Ridley Scott's brilliant sci-fi film noir from 1982. As shorthand it works, but I do not want to limit my assessment of Desire to that of soundtrack music. One of the greatest things about music is the fact that the listener can interpret it any way they choose. In this respect, Desire is a cinematic experience.

By the seventh track "Consciousness," the ambient mood becomes more and more dominant, and it is a trend that continues through to the end. I love this type of music because the melodies are so striking. Each song on Desire has its ambient qualities, but as the disc closes with "Doubt" and finally "Echo," the listener is well and truly rewarded. I find it to be a wonderful irony that  such "cold" music (electronic music) can generate such warmth.

In their review of the latest Aphex Twin album, Rolling Stone mentioned "graying hipsters" who used to call this type of music "intelligent dance music," or (even worse) "ambient techno." Those terms never made any sense, but they stuck. With that in mind, and with nods to Eno, Aphex, and The Orb, Drifting in Silence embody everything implied in the idea of post-ambient music.