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Dryft – The Blur Vent

What happens when an experimenter starts to experiment, when an outsider goes further out? Things start to… Dryft.

Mike Cadoo started composing as Dryft in 1999 as a way of distinguishing that music from his more established Gridlock guise. If Gridlock started life as a kind of industrial-infused IDM, Dryft explored more laid back, downtempo dubstep as well as drum and bass. Since then Cadoo has founded and helmed the successful n5MD label. As a musician he has concentrated on his Bitcrush project, having retired the Gridlock name some years ago. Bitcrush was more in the vein of atmospheric, post rock electronica. Epic stuff, Bitcrush went from strength to strength despite Cadoo nearly retiring that project as well. Luckily not. Then Dryft re-emerged in 2012.

It’s hard to summarise what Dryft represents now. The name Dryft might suggest something softer, more floaty than its counterpart (‘Bitcrush’ sounds fearsome to me, yet the records are beautiful). It isn’t always the case though. There‘s harsh, abrasive IDM here at times. There’s the stomp of house music and more cinematic vibes apt for or gaming or sci fi. In truth, like all great music, Dryft isn’t one discernible style. It’s an amalgam of the music that means something to Cadoo. The various projects may be distinct in Cadoo s eyes, and probably begin their lifecycles as such, but in varying and nuancing each album, there’s plenty of crossover. ‘These Wall’s, from the latest record, could just as easily be called Bitcrush.

I’m a big fan of Cadoo’s music. Having come from outside of the IDM universe, his was the music that pulled me across. Bitcrush was the stepstone, the gateway and window into something really very cool. Dryft is different, but of that same universe. Emotional experiments in music – of course it as to be. Music is the sound of emotion. That’s at the core of everything he does and everything else he gets involved with. Cadoo is an architect now. These structures are distinctly him and it has long stopped mattering how we file them. ‘Blue Windows’ is another terrific piece, evoking all manner of filmic connotations, most of which would be nocturnal. This is cool, sophisticated stuff. Album centrepiece, ‘The Long Four’ clocks in at nine minutes which is the only really Cadoo-timed epic here. This one swirls into a kind of nebulous head trip. The rest of the tracks are refreshingly short. ‘Slow Jimmy’ goes twinkle twinkle clap in half time like the bastard offspring of Burial and Hammock. I love it.

I came into The Blur Vent assignment with some reservations. I really believed I preferred Bitcrush to Dryft but those lowered expectations allowed for the excellent music on this album to shine through. Things are neatly tied up on the closing, title track which is another one for the Absolut Bar. Get your headphones at the ready because The Blur Vent is one of Mikes best albums.

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