[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Serenity can so often be deceiving; on its face, this new album from Polypores is all about naturalist escapism but just beneath the placid surface all manner of activity is going on. From the sporing of new life to the decay of what is no more and is fed upon, ‘Sacred Drift’ chronicles a cycle of death and re-birth as old as the planet itself. The dialogue of plants, the whispers of microbes and the tempestuous relationship all of it has with the comings and goings of the tide; the drift of millennia, that imperceptible shifting of landscape which eventually subsumes everything in it’s path.
I find what he’s seeking to capture is the evolutionary catalyst of intelligent life, that organic process of attaining consciousness through constant change. Perhaps the faster those molecules sub-divide the easier it will be for a thought to bubble up to the surface of this decidedly verdant sonic tableau. Further we go into the primordial muck, passing through layer after layer of genetic one-offs and abandoned biological prototypes; one thing is certain, these soft waves of synthesis are not meant to lull us into a state of complacency, there’s an exceeding inquisitive mind behind the six pieces making up Steven James Buckley’s newest entry.
For a few years now, what he’s written has been expanding beyond explanation with this one teetering right on the edge of comprehension. At first it seemed as though he’d decided to go off the rails into a mossy paradise of reassuringly calming electronics but I can see now that there’s a method to all of this. His designs aren’t the directionless melange of ambiance I’d suspected initially, rather, they are instead a shrewdly considered rumination on an architecture which surrounds us each day that we’re too shallow and pre-occupied to see.
Not that the general public are going to look deeply into what this release is trying to tell us. It’ll be dismissed as pretty with a few dark undertones to it.
Ah but if you spend the requisite time getting to know what “Unfamiliar Lichens” or “Transitional Environment” have to their matrices you won’t be able to put this thing down and it’ll burrow into your thoughts with the greatest of ease. It has been in constant rotation since I got my hands on it back in April and long after I’m done reviewing ‘Sacred Drift’ these tracks will continue being played… more than any other work he has yet put out this one is insidiously invasive. Like the micro verse it details and illuminates, his music continually enlightens the perceptions, reasoning and intellect of those who listen.