While it does come under the icy umbrella of dark ambient, and while Derealization is certainly a record that will corrode a good mood, there’s nothing generically spooky or background about Driftloss’ latest.
With granularly damaged audio objects phasing in and out of each other, the sense here is of a record that’s simultaneously both stalled at the lights at the edge of town and freewheeling downhill to the cliff edge. The music rides an ever-rising emotion battering storm front but leaves the listener on their own, trapped behind glass whilst viewing the fast-motion footage of the end of something.
A piece of epic surveying of world dismantling, Derealization feels like there was maybe something originally more solid in the past than there is now on this tape. Almost like this is a deconstruction of a previous thing, except it’s a thing that didn’t exist before rather than a remix effort. Like the gutted carcass of an extreme metal album, this sounds hollowed out and plowed through by electronics, the tatters left to dry in the embers of burning buildings. Driftloss has found a balance on Derealization between excavation and construction.
Then there’s the occasional use of ‘percussion.’ Progressive/brutal metal played on a plastic table with Bic pens. Sometimes it’s dissociated and skittery; other times, it’s pure texture, the rhythms coming and going more as separate elements rather than anything associated with structure. It’s not everywhere, and it’s certainly not used as a backbeat or a rail for the records, and while never intrusive, it’s definitely an integral and important feature. The credits might say it’s electronic drums, but it’s just as possible that it might’ve been chunks of rainfall patterned into rhythm tracks.
Usually, it’d be hard to recommend something that embodies the concept of catastrophe, either personal or geographical, as a daily listen, but this is a bleakly meditatively continuing reward. It might be a ledge you want to look down from a couple of times – just as prep for the end.