North Atlantic Drift – Departures, Vol. 1

7 Production
7 Composition
10 Mood
6 Instrumentation
7.5

We all have departures in our lives. In some cases, they’re gone forever, and we’re left to cherish each and every memory we can hold onto. In other cases, they’re still here, outside of our frame of awareness, gone from our lives but not from this Earth. Sometimes people don’t fit into our book of life, while others who have passed fill up volumes. No matter where you have gone, if you have departed from my life, I am thinking of you. I am always thinking of you, and you cross my mind every day. You are never gone, you are never departed, not entirely.

When I wrote those seven sentences, I didn’t think there was anything left to say about Departures, Vol. 1. Music reviews, in my mind, can solely be limited to the subjective translation of one’s emotions when listening to an album, and it is a true reflection of what I wrote above. For an ambient release aimed at complete emotional excavation, I would confidently say that North Atlantic Drift provided everything they needed to.


RELEASE DATE: 17 March 2017  LABEL: Polar Seas Recordings


Departures, Vol. 1, like most albums in this genre, struck me by surprise and completely shattered my emotional state when I first sunk into it. The title track left me in tears, which is odd to say, given its atonal nature and its constant, dizzying feedback. To some, this scope of music is boring, equating it to noise that’s barely a step up from silence, but to others, it is everything. The weight of “Departure” is unlike any experience I’ve ever felt presently, and that is why I want to share it with our readers. 

While some may think I’m crazy for sharing music this heartbreaking or depressing, I can assure you that this album isn’t made only to make you feel sad. Of course, the emotional pull is sometimes difficult to handle, but inner reflection is the main goal of this release. It makes you think of things that we as humans try not to, and it helps you feel more human because of it. We often turn an ignorant head to the so-called negative thoughts of death and passing, but we mustn’t fight it all the time. I feel at ease because this album serves as remembrance for the people and things I love that have moved on, no matter how hard it is to know that they are gone.

North Atlantic Drift have created an album that connected me with memories and feelings in a way that only ambient music can. It is beautiful, it is haunting, and it will stay with me long after these words are written. Music, in that sense, never departs from us if we carry what we gained from it with us. I feel the same way for my late grandmother who taught me love, for my best friend who I’ve since lost contact with who taught me what friendship is, and for my lost childhood toy that taught me that things are just things. If music doesn’t have an expiration date, then neither do the people or things that have impacted us greatly.

If you’re lucky, reconnect with the people who have disappeared from your life but not from this life altogether. Departures don’t have to be departures if you don’t want them to be, and this album taught me that every day is a chance to reconnect with the people who you feel are missing from your life. And if they are gone from this life, don’t let them be forgotten. Even if this album gets buried in the vast graveyard of the internet, I will keep what this album taught me for years to come. It still blows my mind that I could have such an authentic, personal resonation with Departures, Vol. 1, but it is the driving force behind why I look for new music every day. You never know what could change you until you let it in.

WATCH | NORTH ATLANTIC DRIFT – DREAM SEQUENCE

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