Toronto band North Atlantic Drift likes to joke that they make sounds that sound like a tortured orchestra. Upon listening to their newest full-length, Departures Vol. 1, I was surprised at the beautiful product of said torture.
However, with the release of music video for new single “Dream Sequence”, which is open for interpretation, it’s easy to see how “tortured orchestra” fits the band in an enchanting way. The video captures a band in a dark and isolated forest, playing with blindfolds. There’s a juxtaposition of aggressive playing mixed with the slow moving piece featured in the visual experience, and as the video hazes out, it leaves an impression of intrigue.
According to the band, the video aims for a “takeaway to be open minded for breaking habits and traditions if and when a brighter truth presents itself.” For at the end of the video, the musicians remove their blindfolds and look directly into the light.
The sound the duo captures on the album as a whole reminds me of a dream you’d hate to wake from, captured with audio elements of glimmering synth and simple static texture. The LP offers a glimpse of clarity, refreshing touches of bass movements, and drips with an eloquent submission of hollow sounds.
I especially took a liking to “Part-time Romantic, for the composition reminds me of Renaissance-style music with a modern static flair. The piece is probably the most complexly built on the record, and is one of those songs that avoids getting lost in the middle of the record.
The album’s opening and closing tracks, “Temperance” and “Older Not Wiser” are monumental. “Temperance” embellishes a wide variety of concepts explored on the album-romance, drifting sounds, texture layering, and darkness, and “Older Not Wiser” envelops these concepts to an exuberant caliber. This record is key for someone looking to explore the depths of music and how far it can extend beyond normal key changes of a synthesizer. The LP will peak your interest and leave you thinking.