Steve Gibbs ~ Adrift

a0997845953_16Adrift is three years old, but on April 28 a remastered and expanded edition will be available via Injazero Records, both digitally and on 180g vinyl.  In preparation for the release, we’ve remastered our original review.

The opening notes of “Passion” let us all know we’re in an ambient world, adrift from all things. The music is physically close, but it’s wispy enough to be near-invisible. Decent ambient music is able to be present without being present at all, and this is much better than just decent. Like the most effective ambient music, it drifts along at its own pace. It may seem simple, this minimal sound, these pretty notes, but it’s far from easy, and it points to a sophisticated and skilled approach. Adrift has an underlying intelligence and a deep complexity underneath its pretty surface; the beauty isn’t only skin deep.

Adrift‘s romantic heart beats on and on, its strings deep and tender, its piano passages like a gentle, understanding companion. We’re adrift, but we’re never alone. The placid, washed tones create soothing spaces. September’s cozy light trickles in, flowing in as if from a distant, shallow creek in the sky; again and again does this fragile light drip into the music.

A muddied piano plays around a gently-lit progression, while a pensive melody plays just above, fluttering as if on the wings of a butterfly. Adrift is a lush forest of ambient sound, a deeply tender record, soporific in motion. Steve Gibbs manages to stun and sedate at the same time, carefully allowing the light to filter in. It stays by your side. Adrift is a soothing inhalation of ambient sound. Always thoughtful, always kind.

“Low Light” settles down for an amber-colored dusk as its light seeps out of the sky. Still and reflective, it’s capable of radiating warmth despite a cooling of the temperature, while a peaceful guitar melody flows through the coda, “Bokeh”, its treble-thin tone bringing back the beach-drugged style of something like Boards of Canada‘s The Campfire Headphase. The piano returns once again (it’s never very far away), overlapping the repeating melodic phrase as it travels down the music’s creek. The piano acts an an anchor, giving the music some recurring stability, while the chords become relaxed exhalations that bring nothing but blessed relief; its delayed notes spread out like slivers of weak sunshine. The strings bring in hints of modern composition but it all revolves around an ambient core. Adrift is introverted music for a world overdosing on high volumes. (James Catchpole)

Available here

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