[sic] Magazine

North Atlantic Drift – Visitor

North Atlantic Drift is the experimental, ambient and electronic pairing of Brad Deschamps & Mike Abercrombie. The duo are on the Polar Seas label which makes sense from a nomenclature point of view – (North Atlantic Drift on Polar Seas, geddit?) but we should take care to avoid confusion with Northumbria (same label and the two acts have had a split release – see link below) and Northcape (same expanded Universe shall we say, on Sun Sea Sky recordings) Our guys have only been active since 2011 making Visitor all the more remarkable. There is clear progression here from their previous output.

Visitor is underpinned by refrained guitar ambience and synths making this latest release a contemplative collection of pieces. Though wordless throughout, the music here is suggestive to me of a voyage. If I am correct about this, it would surely be a journey of some significance. Whether long or dangerous, spiritual or literal it certainly implies ‘transformative’ to me. These are personal interpretations, of course, as the album is devoid of lyrics. However imposing such an individual narrative upon the mood of each piece seems to pay dividends and puts me in mind of a lone voyager travelling far from home. As we progress through the album’s seven punctual tracks, our solitary sailor (hiker, astronaut, meditator…. you name it) appears to progress through various phases – sadness and reflection, facing adversity, finding hope and returning (or arriving) the stronger for the experience. Again I stress that these are my own interpretations. Yours may differ, as well they should. Yet Visitor puts me in mind of an old favourite, Sea by Last Days; an album with exactly that same narrative. This one we know to be the case because its author told us so.

Polar Seas is the perfect setting for this album. Yet for all their wintery associations the weather here remains beautiful. Visitor is no hostile environment. Yes, the music is chilled but it isn’t ‘freezing your extremities off’ cold. It isn’t frosty or oppressive. Indeed with this latest record, North Atlantic Drift have moved way out to sea, overcome difficulties and found their way to warmer waters. Don’t expect too many grand overtures on Visitor. It is gentler than that. I wouldn’t call it innocuous because that makes Visitor sound too easily dispensed with. It is simply subtle and nuanced, not to mention highly playable. Isn’t that what music should be all about?

Split CD