If you are not familiar with the aesthetics of ambient-space music, this album may seem incomprehensible to you - or put you to sleep. But if you are an ambient fan, as I am, it is a wonder. It is a luminous journey through musical inner space, led by one of the brightest stars in the Steve Roach galaxy, Peoria-Illinois-based "Vir Unis." His album Body Electric
, done in collaboration with Roach, was a frenetic and wildly exciting experience full of noise and action. This solo effort is just the opposite.
The Drift Inside consists of 12 electronic pieces, which proceed along at a slow, stately pace. There is no rhythm and only very minimal percussion. Each piece is a meditation on only one or two chords, with volume pulsing softer and louder, traced about by a slow kaleidoscope of electronic effects that come and go. The chords are beautifully chosen, some as tonal as Debussy, others microtonal and more dissonant. All are sunk in that ocean of reverb that is so characteristic of the school of Steve Roach. Roach himself does put in an appearance here and there, but this doesn't sound like imitation Roach. The first four pieces are especially powerful, seamlessly linked together, and the title cut, number 4, "The Drift Inside," is perhaps the best on the album.
As the title advertises, the album is meant to drift you into an inward, meditative, perhaps ecstatic mental state; it certainly works like that for me. The sensuous yet austere harmonies evoke moods of languid dreaming sunlight, or bracing interstellar darkness, or unearthly visionary landscapes. I highly recommend The Drift Inside for any astral travelling you may be planning to undertake.