The newest installment in a series highlighting albums of 2009 that I unfortunately didn’t get around to listening to until just now.
Not listening more closely to Nosaj Thing‘s Drift is probably the greatest tragedy of all the left behind albums of 2009. No doubt this would have been high up on my Top Albums of 2009 list if I paid a little more attention to it rather than skirting it off to the side after a superficial listen. Apparently others didn’t make the same mistake as me, but fortunately I came around to it.
Times like these when trying to describe electronic music albums I realize how inadequate my vocabulary of musical terms is. Most of the time I end up comparing elements of the group with other sounds that you might be more familiar with and no doubt Drift has a lot of parts where the “I think I heard this from somewhere” light flickers on. Taking cues from hipster favorites Ratatat and Daft Punk as well as from Billboard Top 40 artists Beastie Boys and Linkin Park (gag), there are ample comparisons to made. Instead of publishing a long-winded article using adjectives that, let’s me honest, still fail at appropriately describing the music, I’ve decided to just write-up my notes on a track-by-track basis when I attentively listened through the album:
- Quest — Great opener which seemlessly transitions into my personal favorite “Fog”. One of those “scare the living shit out of trick-or-treaters” song.
- Fog — A great 1-2 punch with “Quest” that Mike Tyson would be proud of. Head nodding stuff with a rolling synth line lurking in the background. You expect it to bubble up to the cauldron’s surface but it just manages a slow simmer
- Coat of Arms — Fuzzed out bass line that has to be ripped from a DDR song with quick cuts from sustained vocal notes that gets annoying at times. Probably the worst track in the bunch.
- IOIO — Has a Daft Punk “Robot Rock” feel to it before going into the Ratatat swells reminiscent of “Montanita”.
- 1865Bach — Great Space Invaders sounds fluttering in and out of frame.
- Caves — Electro tribal drum beats intro before a sharp melody that sounds straight from Beastie Boys’ “Time to Build” and hen spaceship take-off noises start whizzing by. In the later stages, dizzying swarm of bees buzzing around round fading in and out.
- Light 1 — Sustained whole note intro sounds like the start to the horrendous Black Eye Pea song “Boom Boom Pow”. The electro church organ breakdown midway through before picking back up with rapid fire electronic lines.
- Light 2 — Soundtrack to urban life in 2150 where robots are on the cusp of taking over. He just mashes together so much stuff into a single track, but somehow winds up with something that works.
- 2222 — Not going to lie, the fast pace cuts throughout the song sound like that shit Linkin Park does. The whistling effect sounds super creepy, like something a child molester uses to lure little kids.
- Us — The “sunlight shines through the thunderstorm clouds” type song. Atmospheric and airy repetitive chords over darker bass lines — you know Mount Eerie type stuff.
- Voices — Slowest paced song on the album. Very industrial sounding with sparse machine drum beats.
- Lords – Great track. Takes the typical sonorous church choir and flips it on its head, adds some head banging claps and muddy melodic lines; hooks you almost immediately. What an awesome closer!
Here are a couple of tracks from the album as well as a sweet remix he did of The xx’s “Islands”: