Published May 01, 2014Northumbria released one of the secret treasures of the Toronto drone scene last year, All Days Begin As Night, a ghostly, deeply textured record made up of equal parts distortion and ectoplasm. One of the great strengths of the album was its use of sonic layering, weaving disparate elements together into a thrumming, living whole. For their latest project, the band have expanded their sonic palette by collaborating with electronic alchemists North Atlantic Drift.
The result is a kind of diptych that intensifies each group's work through contrast and juxtaposition. Northumbria contribute a pair of long, gelid tracks that evoke wind howling across a frozen tundra, vibrating with pent-up, almost supernatural energy. North Atlantic Drift bring a choral warmth that comes across like a spring thaw, all meltwater and shimmering keyboards. It was recorded and produced independently, then mastered by James Plotkin to achieve a sense of unity and coherence, but it's what the groups have in common that is most surprising about this split: they share the same kind of vibrancy, a reverberating, vital energy that seeps into and defines every track. (Polar Seas Recordings)