Co-founder of the ever hyperactive (already five releases in 2018) Seattle-based imprint Jungle Gym, Caleb Dravier – best known as Dravier – has steadily established his label at the forefront of the North American underground scene whilst carving out a lane of his own as a producer.
Heir of the Washington state capital’s idiosyncratic DIY approach to music-making, Dravier made a name with his oneiric lo-fi house blends, navigating the chasms between atmospheric fluidity, heavy sampling, newfangled electronic potentialities and warped instrumentals marked with the patina of time, as beautifully asserted by his latest effort on X-Kalay’s offshoot Silver Lake.
Born from a recurring dream he made before putting the first touch to the tracks – involving “an expedition that leads into a glacier where an ancient ice metropolis lies“, ‘Deep Thought Glacial River‘ casts its net far and wide; meshing bleached-out exotica with subdued prog folk tropes and teeming beds of organic noises to create a riveting sound fresco.
The 12-minute long opener, ‘Journey Towards Mouth of the Erebus‘, holds several worlds at its heart; succesively offering moments of inner joy and exalted melancholy, it is a narrative triptych that unravels. While the first movement makes for a subtle compound of latin-infused rhythms, blunt guitar chords and pizzicato basses – and a bewitching icebreaker (pun intended), the second operates as a beatless interlude before ukulele-like string loops seal the deal.
Almost as lengthy, ‘Discovery‘ is an extended descent into glimmering tunnels and chimey drifts, spreading its precious motifs over 10 minutes of tape-saturated bliss. Flip the record over and the vibe gets further exhilaratingly symphonic. B1 could be the modern reinterpretation to a medieval poem, heaving its polyrhythmic interplay of textures and melodies into immaculate spheres of musical utopianism.
Looping the loop on a high note, the arresting ‘Suite for a Lost Glacial Metropolis‘ delivers a thrilling concert of feels; from a first half by way of awe-struck incipit onto its second part, which trades the opening sequence’s meditativeness for a pacey forward thrust into lushly landscaped phreatic waters. A compelling listen from start to finish, ‘Deep Thought Glacial River‘ confirms the sensation perceived on his recent outings. From a hard-working vibes merchant, Dravier has grown into a captivating soundscapist, and this EP assuredly sits as his most accomplished work to date.
Deep Thought Glacial River is released via Silver Lake on 27th April, pre-order a copy from Bandcamp.
A1. Journey Towards Mouth of the Erebus
A2. Discovery (The Ancient Ice Cave River System)
B1. Past Frozen Whirlpools and the Dark Zone Mind
B2. Suite for a Lost Glacial Metropolis