North Atlantic Drift “Canvas” | Polar Seas Recordings

Atmospheric music is always something that gets me, especially when the music breathes in ways that I never thought it could. Shifting, colliding, folding, wavering, oscillating; there are so many words that define this territory of sound yet none of them really tap into the essence and state of what atmospherically shaped music captures and projects back to the listener. The duo of Mike Abercrombie and Brad Deschamps, known as North Atlantic Drift, is a project in which takes textures of the most minimal origins and turns them completely inside out for one hair raising ride. Airy in descent and expressively humble in progression, each song North Atlantic Drift creates feels like a warm bath that encases your body in some of the most soothing states. Based out of Toronto, the two came from different worlds prior to collaborating and have formed a bond that sounds like they have been creating music together for over a decade.

Canvas is the new offering from the duo and shows the two diving deep into a state of ambient drone and experimentalism that is hard to define on the surface but is so meaningful and long lasting in the mind after it’s all over. It’s very impressionistic music that leaves an imprint stamped on my mind days after I absorb it. It suprisingly took me back to when I was first exposed to bands like Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Mono. When music enters my mind on this level, it’s hard not to go back to it time after time. Canvas begins with the track “From The Static”, a six minute piece that captures a beautiful yet gloomy melodic approach. Percussion vaguely announces itself under a shimmering display of guitar and synth and the minimal building of the song becomes a characteristic that defines the entire album. It has a cold feeling, something that reminds me of the reflection that comes off of snow and ice and the cold air that compliments that view. The song builds in the most minimal way, with small layers that really shape the body of “From The Static” into a melancholy state. As the percussion becomes pronounced, there is a heated voyage that takes place in which melts all the ice that was present and allows the track to fully realize itself. It’s as if an awakening occured. Maybe it signified an arrival. Whatever the case may be, it is beautiful to contemplate the origins of something so rich in musical texture. The level of restrain and balance creates a beauty that I assumed Sigur Ros was only capable of. North Atlantic Drift have captured this same glowing beauty and have given it a new face and a new path to journey down.

“Waiting In The Afterglow” is the second track on the full length Canvas and is just as stunning as the first track. I imagine floating through space before the percussion announces itself when this song becomes introduces on the record. The single guitar notes are spaced out so evenly on this track that is sounds like the band Mono or Godspeed! You Black Emperor. Much of the album evokes this same direction and response in my mind. The electric drums give the song a non rustic feel, despite how nostalgic and somber the melodic tones make me feel. There is an angel like presence that exists under the synth, guitar and drums that is exceptionally breath taking. I am always looking for the small nuances in a piece as those are always the ones in which raise everything up a level around it. There are few artists who can capture this much atmosphere and not have the piece entirely drip into nothingness. The remaining five songs all carve out sonic pathways that speak of these very realities and as a whole, the album becomes a bright shinning star that removes itself from being defined by any one song. If you love music that drifts yet carries a perfect sense of melodic direction, this is an album you will without a doubt love right away.

Canvas is an album where loops, guitar, synth, processed percussion and lots of unorthodox instrumentation create an imagination of sound so enlarged and so rich that it can break down the hardest of souls. Ambient music is a field of music that will never be defined or broken into a University of thought. It will however continue to break out from the vortex and center of creation that has been instilled into the movement for over 40 years now and be a redefining process of the imagination, not foundations of rhythms or note configurations. It is probably the closest genre to what painting has been achieving through the arts for centuries now. North Atlantic Drift have created a masterpiece with Canvas, a very honest and surreal realization of music that speaks of the earth as much as it does the cosmos.

-Erik Otis

CD comes in 4-panel gatefold jacket. Photography by Mike Abercrombie. Limited edition of 50. CD’s are hand-numbered and come with a 4×6″ print and stickers.

Order here:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,062 other followers

%d bloggers like this: