The Drift – Ceiling Sky

The Drift
Ceiling Sky

Let me clear something up before we get started: I like jazz a lot. Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker…I enjoy their music. I also enjoy newer stuff like Medeski Martin and Wood and even jazz-indie rock hybrids similar to The Drift such as the Mercury Program.

Basically I’m telling you this because some of you reading this might write off my opinion either way it falls because you might think a foul-mouthed, snobby indie rock critic like myself doesn’t like jazz, but that is definitely not the case.

So please believe me when I tell you that Ceiling Sky is boring as all fuck.

The tracks collected on this album were previously only available on vinyl, but are now on CD for your listening pleasure. The problem is that there’s really no reason for this, far as I can tell. Die hards probably have the records in question and I hope to god these songs are on the weaker end of their catalogue anyway. Also, two of them are remixes. It’s not like this release is going to take their fanbase to another level.

The collection begins with “Streets,” which is an ambient sounding jazz-rock number based around the rhythm section of upright bassist Safa Shokrai and drummer Rich Douthit. The song involves some atmospheric guitar and fairly impressive trumpeting, building slowly, and never really delivering a payoff. It might be fine if it was, say, four minutes of this, but instead it is a pretty damn repetitive 10 minutes. Around the 7 minute mark, there’s about an interesting 40 seconds where the trumpet and guitar get a little more aggressive, but for the most part, it’s not very appealing.

The next song, “Nozomi” starts with four minutes of the same atmospheric sounding guitar and then proceeds to sound like the first song. “For Grace And Stars” is another slow-builder that never really gets to a point. Do you get what I’m driving at here? There’s nothing that really grabs the attention, and considering these songs are all 9-13 minutes long, that’s a big problem.

As I mentioned before, the last two tracks are remixes, and the album doesn’t really get any better. The Four Tet remix of “Gardening, Not Architecture” actually begins with an interesting beat similar to Endtroducing era DJ Shadow, but quickly becomes disorienting enough that I had to turn it off because it was making me nauseous. The Sybarite remix of “Invisible Cities” sounds like something the band could’ve done themselves, although I don’t have any frame of reference since I’ve never heard the original track, but if someone told me this was an original Drift song, I’d have no reason to question them.

So, essentially, this is a pretty weak release from a band I know nothing of. Not only that, but I feel like I listened to an hour’s worth of their music and I still have very little feel for what they’re about. I suppose this would make good background music, or it might be interesting if you smoke a lot of pot, but for me…well, I’m gonna go listen to Straight, No Chaser and forget this ever happened.