DRIFT: Episode 1 – “DUST”
Smith Hyde Productions
Always the thinking man’s ravers (oh alright, with a chorus thumping out going “Lager lager lager” they were the drinking man’s ravers too) Underworld started an ambitious project at the end of last year – to release something every week. A whole year of tracks – 52 – and they’re tied to a writing and visual project too: Text, films, music. The Drift Project.
It’s about to be boxed into a set of physical releases and they intend to just carry on with another Drift series through the end of 2019 and across 2020. Amazing. Some are album length, one’s a double, many are EP length.
Drift Episode 1 features six tracks across 30 minutes, so either a short album or a long/er EP. I like this length and format. It holds the attention.
Episode 1 opens with a 30-second intro – little more than a screech, but opening track-proper (ie: the second song) immediately puts you into (if not onto) the pulse of the dancefloor. To me Underworld’s pop sensibility meant they were always combining worlds and Universe of Can When Back seems to somehow answer the question of what a collaboration between Orbital and Pet Shop Boys would be like (ie: fantastic). There’s a bit of Kraftwerk to the rhythm track (of course) and as the song flows on into the next number, Dexters Chalk, that dank-dancefloor mood and flavor of the band’s mid-90s/early-00s peak doesn’t feel 20+ years away. It feels like yesterday. It feels like tomorrow.
Another Silent Way completes the meat of this EP – the three songs in the middle just a throwback to vital, early Underworld.
Low Between Zebras is a spoken-word cut, a re-set of sorts.
And then we close with A Very Silent Way, a ten-minute collaboration with The Necks. It all but edits-in on a Necks-session that’s in mid-flight and harks back to their early-00s work where the organ and electric keys were prime and centre with percussion clanging behind and bass driving it forward. And if this is, on its own, a little underwhelming – given it’s a collaboration between two great acts – have patience, it’s foreshadowing for what’s to come in the series (a more fully-blown collab, on that really strikes the right notes as you’d expect).
I’m loving going back through past episodes of this Drift Project as new eps continue to arrive. It’s a real mark of quality that this series could be this good. Nearly every track, certainly every grouped-release of the tracks. These episodes are well worth streaming/downloading/buying/hearing…
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