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

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…

Jazz Fusion-Rock-Pop-Funk Review: Project Grand Slam-Trippin’

Release Date: June 29, 2018 Label: Cakewalk Records Website
This will be my sixth voyage into the world of Project Grand Slam (PGS). So, what is this experience going to be like this time? I would expect the same great combination of jazz, rock, funk, and pop that I always enjoyed.

Just so you all know PGS is: Robert Miller (bass), Mario Castro (saxophones), Bayden Goyo (keyboards), Joel E. Mateo (drums), Guillermo Barron Rios (percussion), Tristan Clark (guitar) and the beautiful Ms. Ziarra Washington (vocals).

So, now we are Trippin’ into 2018 with PGS. And the first track titled “1972” was like turning on the radio and hearing the Average White Band or Tower of Power. Yes sir, on the AM dial, it came blaring through back in those days. 

The title track is a real gas too. This number has some great sax from Castro and a killer rhythm section courtesy of Miller and Mateo. It shines the spotlight on them clear and bright. Let me tell you, those two are like the dynamic duo, kind of like a p…

New Biography on The Cars Singer/Bassist Benjamin Orr by Vermont Writer Joe Milliken to be Published November 2018!

Bellows Falls, VT – Veteran music journalist Joe Milliken recently announced a publishing deal with the Lanham, Maryland-based publisher Rowman & Littlefield Publishers to produce his first book, a biography about the late Benjamin Orr. Orr was the co-founder, co-lead singer, and bassist for the platinum-selling rock band The Cars. Titled Let’s Go! Benjamin Orr and The Cars, a release date is set for November 15, 2018.

Often considered the band’s heartthrob, Orr possessed an incredible voice, diverse musical talent and rare stage presence, all balanced by a magnetic, yet enigmatic personality, striking good looks, and a relentless determination to reach rock stardom. Born Benjamin Orzechowski (aka “Benny Eleven Letters”) and raised in the Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights, Orr was, prior to becoming a world-famous rock star with The Cars, a “teen star” as a house band musician for the nationally syndicated television show Upbeat.

A few years later Ben met his musical partner and …