When Steve Hillage walked into his first rave, he had an epiphany. As Oakenfold was bringing the set to a close, Hillage wandered into the “chill-out” room, where he heard his own Rainbow Dome Musik being played. This led to the formation of 777, or as it is now called System 7. Hillage’s use of ambience with a beat on Fire + Water has never been surpassed - not even by subsequent releases by himself.
Until now. I cannot get enough of Drums Off Chaos. This reminds me so much of what Hillage accomplished with Fire + Water it is ridiculous. In this case however, we have real drummers replacing Hillage’s programmed beats. The results are insanely great.
Obviously programmed for a vinyl LP, Drums Off Chaos draws the listener in immediately with “First Half.” Who in the hell makes music so engaging these days? Opening with an ambient soundscapes and a gong, the drumwork gradually absorbs the listener. I find the ambient colorations to be a brilliant counterpoint to the true focus of this collective.
The biggest name is that of Jaki Liebezeit - yes, the very same man who was a founding member of CAN. On cut two: “4 Of 7” we find the drums even more prominent. Yet the ambient underbelly (ala Bowie’s “Warzawa“) is still prevalent. This is as wonderfully curious as this type of music has ever been.
Side two opens with “Second Half,” and is a fine reminder of what we have heard. The cut is a little more adventurous than what came before. The semi-metronomic beat holds steady, while the other percussives play around. The electronic affectations fall behind to the Almighty of this project: the drums. In the fourth and final track “Even S” props are given to all members. The pseudo-electronica elements feature prominently, as do the percussion.
Of the four tunes on this disc, my number one choice is “First Half.” But that is nit-picking. If you (once were) a fan of “ambient-techno” you need this record right now. For others - perhaps looking for a different sound, and liking percussion, I think Drums Off Chaos would work as well. Personally, I have been listening to Drums Off Chaos way too much lately. I may need some “Bieber Fever” to get me back on track.
Or maybe not - this stuff is freaking great.