Faures - Contintental Drift (Home Normal)
By 2014, even discussing instrumentation of ambient music with any sense of wonder seems a little irrelevant. Most instruments imaginable have been used in the creation of various drones and soundscapes. Probably the most common acoustic instruments used are guitar and piano; these two are probably my favourites, too, so it is perhaps no surprise that Continental Drift by Faures is right up my street.
Still, let’s talk mood. It’s quite common for music to represent an artist’s surroundings (Richard Skelton the hill-walker; Deaf Center and their spooky Scandinavian sound), but a project like Faures - three artists from Germany, Canada and Singapore - has no immediate geographical or social setting. It is remarkable, then, how consistent Continental Drift is in tone, with no hint that these collaborative pieces were put begun and finished by different artists, depending on the track. That is not to suggest it’s a samey album (at least by ambient/drone standards), just that the coherency is that which you’d expect of a tightly planned concept record.
Despite the bleak looking cover, this is an album of bright sounding music. Broad sweeps of electronic and processed sound are the canvas on which Continental Drift is painted; sweeps which suggest open vistas, vast skies and a new sense of hope. This is uplifting music, but not sentimental music. Onto this canvas we find piano and electric guitar, sometimes high in the mix, playing a beautiful melody; other times soaked in reverb and barely audible above the rich tones of the backing reverb. Things change from time to time: ‘Asthenospheric Movement II’ brings elements of noise into the mix; whilst Isostatic Uplift, contrary to one reading of its name, is probably the most sombre piece on the record, a moody minor key piece with a pensive sounding percussive acoustic guitar loop.
Of all the things that link the three artists, it’s a sense, and appreciation, of space that is the most obvious. Whilst rich in texture, the drones on display here don’t fill the room; instead, they simply occupy a certain place in the sonic landscape, allowing everything to fit around them, be it other instruments, or silence. This appreciation of space is what gives the music of Continental Drift its feeling of vast proportion, and in that sense, the title is entirely fitting for this beautiful collection of ambient pieces.
Grab it from the Home Normal Bandcamp.