Published Apr 23, 2019French producer/DJ Agoria (real name Sébastien Devaud) has described his "drift" approach to music-making as a freedom to cross formal and stylistic boundaries in the service of inclusivity, collaboration and new horizons. Drift, his latest full-length, largely succeeds in this mission, splitting its runtime between solid collaborations and mostly solid solo tracks, capitalizing on their relatively short runtimes to achieve an inviting ebb and flow that one could easily describe as drifting in nature.
It's all held together by a clinical and somewhat brittle production style that some might find at odds with the delicate and organic movement the title suggests, but it's unifying at the very least, and ultimately worth getting used to.
All of the collaborations here are rewarding in their own way. "You're Not Alone," featuring a soulful vocal turn from Blasé, leads the pack in terms of catchiness ("Remedy", featuring Noémie, is a close second), but the STS feature "Call of the Wild" is definitely the most fun and irreverent offering here, with the Philly rapper amusingly working in a reference to Pepé le Pew at one point. This latter runs out of steam a bit towards the end however, with Devaud just repeating snippets of the second verse over a beat and synth combo that, left to stand on its own, is a little anaemic.
Indeed, if drifting suggests scope and breadth, its implied opposite is depth, and some of the tracks here seem a bit shallow. "Arêg" rides the "start slow then get incredibly fast" idea perfectly well, for instance, but we've all heard an arpeggio get sped up at this point, and after almost five minutes it gets a bit tiresome (although a gorgeous solo piano coda almost saves it).
Similarly, "Dominae" introduces some interesting elements (most notably a plummeting bass line meant to scrape the bottom of your sub-woofer), but does little else beyond that, and the shorter runtimes, which otherwise give the album an appealingly brisk pace, make a few of these cuts feel like sketches as opposed to full-fledged tracks.
Other solo highlights, like "A One Second Flash" and yearning closer "Computer Program Reality," more than carry the day, however, and Devaud's work should frankly be of interest to anyone with an ear to the French techno scene. (Virgin)