Seasonal Shift – Druiid (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It did seem for a while that as technology brought accessibility, both financial and creative, to a generation of would-be music makers the contemporary music scene was awash with identikit beatmakers and dance music wannabees. But as the adage proved, “it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it,” most fly-by-night, style over substance, stars in their own minds looking for a fast track to fame and fortune, those feeding their ego rather than their creative urges quickly fell by the wayside. And what was left were those music makers and sonic manipulators who were driven to make music and passionate about the process. Druiid is one of those people.

Although running on familiar deep house and downtempo vibes, there is real adventure and inspiration at work on his latest full album release. Not for him the obvious tropes and templates that are awash in dance floor music, this is music that isn’t just giving the listener what they want, this is music giving the listener something that they didn’t realise they wanted, the familiar sounds of the genre but taken to new sonic heights… although that isn’t quite the right way to describe an album built around such understatement and minimalism.

But it isn’t all ambient and chill, tracks such as Torrential are woven from funky rhythms and succulent grooves and The Obelisk Yearns, a title which in itself should win some sort of literary award, is awash with lush soundscapes, liquid and bubbling sonics, ticking beats and rich percussive sounds. And She Tends The Aviary, a title more reminiscent of a long lost Alan Bennett play than a cool slice of clubland vibes, is almost poppy, in a chilled and forward-thinking sort of way.

It’s an album of clever juxtaposition really. The chilled mixes with the beat-driven, compelling groove blends with electronic grace and the choppy and charged meld with washes of hazy synth. And, behind the songs too, although everything found here is an instrumental expression, the ideas that are being conveyed are easily guessed at. From celebration to more melancholic emotions, from forward-thinking optimism to nostalgic backward glances, from deep thought to light relief, intimate feelings to universal human conditions. It’s all in there somewhere.

As I said at the start of this missive, anyone with a laptop and a song in their head can make music these days, but that doesn’t mean that they should. But, on the flip side of that though, there are artists such as Druiid (spellchecker does NOT like that name) who perhaps wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make and broadcast their music if that were not the case. And that would be a great tragedy.

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