Skip to main content

Drifting in Silence-Facewithin Review

Artist: Drifting in Silence
Title: Facewithin
Genre: Electronica
Label: Labile Records
Amazon Link

It's difficult to classify what constitutes "experimental electronica," considering the genre's increasing penchant for unstructured melodies and general ambience. That established, it can be said with some confidence that the music of Drifting in Silence, the umbrella pseudonym for instrumentalist Derrick Stembridge, is a good example of it. Stembridge's fifth release Facewithin lies somewhere in between cinematic mood music and an adrenalized video game opus, dressed in a muscular mystique that could be likened to soundtracks for Fight Club, The Matrix, and even Half-Life 2.

Thankfully, Facewithin is true to its aura-crafting purposes, laying off the tired crutches of clubbing music in favor of new age theater. For what it is and what it aims to do, Facewithin is undoubtedly a success, despite its tendency to stand more as a testament to Stembridge's talent than any sort of united vision.

Then again, the latter point is somewhat of a relief: though Facewithin often strives to be a "concept album," its overall effect is nowhere as ham-handed. There are no numbered pieces or character narratives, nor some sort of dystopian metaphor beneath all the musical current. Facewithin is instead scattershot: it spreads it tentacles in different directions, preferring gray and airy sounds paired with driving percussion as substitution for recurring melodies. It is thus freer than the music of, say, Outputmessage or Mint Royale, who rely on pop strategies to deliver their electronic bliss.

It is a credit to Stembridge, then, that Facewithin remains engaging despite the noticeable lack of melodic coherence. Dealing in a palette of razor tones and other crisp sounds, one would think that Drifting in Silence could never achieve the sonic glory that bursts forth from fellow instrumentalists like Explosions in the Sky, with their bell-like guitarwork and climbing melodies. Yet the musical handicap never truly cripples Facewithin, with pieces such as "Coming Up For Air" and "Misunderstood" managing to escape the bittersweet designation of "good driving music."

In reality, Facewithin's greatest weakness is its brevity - consisting of five original tracks and three remixes, many listeners may wish for Stembridge to take a breath and expand beyond the rather quick half-hour running time. The cinematic flair is therefore a tad clipped, though it does nothing to drown Stembridge's other talents. For a self-described symphonic project, Drifting in Silence remains unnaturally disciplined and rarely contrived - a welcome, if unexpected, pleasure.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Kevin Liedel, Sr. Staff Editor

April 21, 2009


For Questions or Comments On This Review Send An Email To

01. Forever
02. Misunderstood
03. Facewithin
04. Coming Up For Air
05. Virus
06. Facewithin (Drev Remix) 07. Facewithin (Her Odd Fist Remix)
08. Facewithin (Anthony Baldino Remix)


Popular posts from this blog

Rock Review: Aunt Mary-New Dawn

Release Date: 12th February 2016 Label: Wind-Up Website
Aunt Mary, as a name, somehow suggests an “older” band and it came as no real surprise to find that they are a Norwegian prog band from the 70’s. The band were considered by many to be one of the best prog bands in Norway with their brand of music a mixture of heavy hard rock tunes plus clear indications of a more symphonic nature, although that only really showed itself on their 3rd, and last, studio album, Janus, in 1973. Last that is, until now, with the release of New Dawn. This would appear to be an apt title for a release which follows 24 years after an album of blues covers, released in 1992. 

At their height, Aunt Mary were “up there” with the likes of Deep Purple, Ten Years After, King Crimson, Jethro Tull and many more. After the release of Janus in 1973, the band split up but did a few sporadic appearances, as well as releasing the blues covers album mentioned earlier.

3 years ago, the Norwegian guitar legend and producer, …

Alternative Rock: mariaFausta -Million Faces

Release Date: November 12, 2017
Label: Independent
Website mariaFausta is a European alternative rock vocalist. Recently her album Million Faces became available. I knew that she would probably sing with an accent and she does. Here is the thing with that aspect of a recording artist, either you cannot get past it or you like it, there is no middle ground. After that process and you decide you like it, you realize it is part of the charisma and make up of what the artist is presenting. For my ears things landed on the positive side in all aspects.

Maria’s sound is a varied approach that works very well. It certainly is alternative rock and one of the most original and different albums I have heard in 2017. I hear a ton of instrumental music and sometimes find it difficult with redundancy regarding my words. That is something that all writers worry about. You are cognizant of that fact at all times. Well let me tell you, this music was a total joy to hear and then have the opportunity to p…

New Age Instrumental Review: Anaya Music-AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music)

Release Date: February 2, 2018 Label: Anaya Music Website
Around this time a year ago I had the experience of listening to Anaya Music and providing coverage of Eternity.  It was an uplifting experience and a memorable listen as I recall.
Now with February drawing closer AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music) will arrive.
Once again, the recording features several exceptional collaborations between Anaya Music and a live virtual symphony orchestra recorded in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. The orchestra combines members of the finest ensembles in Prague, including the Czech Philharmonic.
I think they should rename the orchestra to “The Live Spiritual Orchestra.” If you have been exposed to Anaya Music you will understand what that means. If this is your first journey with this music you will find out very quickly. Either way, this is spiritually uplifting music that leaves a smile on your soul. It’s like the term digital footprint, there is an everlasting m…