Drift Noumena

Sticking with a thinly stretched strand of a genre as instrumental rock is the musical equivalent of playing chicken — no one wants to miss the jump off point. The Drift are a San Francisco band with ex-members of Tarentel, Furniture and Halifax Pier, but their sound only holds sideways references to those bands. By siphoning off a little of the gas from the orch-rock machinery and going to more of an acoustic set up with trumpet, drums, electric guitar and upright bass, they manage to find a kind of jazz-fusion breakdown lane. Indeed, at moments they verge upon the Tortoise territory that occasionally fetishised Miles Davis’ 1970s bridge building efforts. Their attention to groove and atmosphere over articulation also allies them with some of the more forward of the jam band brethren. So do they avoid colliding with onrushing obsolescence? Yes. Noumena, as in its Kantian origin, is an album onto itself, escaping the mope rock gravity well of the mind. The Drift drive over ground that is far from uncharted, but at least not completely strip-malled. Best to steer even farther clear next time. (Temporary Residence)