Driftmachine Colliding Contours
Published Jul 19, 2016Driftmachine are a Berlin-based duo that use modular synthesis to construct robotic but roaming compositions. The melodic content on this album is rather simple and repetitive, but the timbral and rhythmic content is where they are strongest. They employ a range of timbres here, from droning feedback imitations to scratchy hissing noises, all buttressed by warm, round, bouncy bass sounds.
The rhythmic content plays off clashing triplet and eighth note patterns that will be somewhat familiar to dubstep fans, but amid their alien landscapes, even the familiar is made strange. "Lost Travelers" begins with a loping, swingy feel that is soon offset by a straight hi-hat pattern and 16th note synth drums — after a minute or two of piling up these rhythms, a listener might not be sure which one to nod or tap to.
It's interesting, and yet it's in these moments that Driftmachine's hubris becomes evident; for all their laudable abstract experimentalism, they sometimes lose a degree of human connectivity. This music is not quite danceable enough to move a floor, and yet it's too involved to make a great ambient listening experience either. Ultimately, Colliding Contours, though fascinating, is on the cusp of being too mechanical to drift, and too drifting to generate energy. (Umor Rex)