Electronic Playground: Observer Drift
Welcome to Electronic Playground. In this weekly column, we will cover tech-heavy music that is a large segment of the Alternative/Indie movement of today. In general, these bands do not see the popularity of some "less out there" acts, so do not be discouraged if you haven't heard of them. We will focus on all types of electronic music in a genre that is known for its subcategories.
Today, we have an artist with a bit more Indie feel to his music. Collin Ward, also known as Observer Drift, is a Minneapolis native who has been actively making and distributing music since 2011. Observer Drift certainly has the genetic makeup of a basement project but definitely sounds like much more. The electronic pulse to the melodies carries a retro feel while the vocals and instrumental fills give more of the modern Indie vibe. Another aspect that is fairly prominent in the electronic scene is the use of audio clips and vocals as supplemental instrumentals, which Ward does in an incredible fashion. Let's get down to the first track we heard from Observer Drift, which still holds the top spot in Ward's catalogue for us.
When You Disappear
This track starts with an audio clip that is used throughout the track as an instrumental fill that we described above. For us, this gives Dream/Synthwave music we have come to love another dimension that is more commonly found in the live DJ realm. The words, "this is the greatest moment of my life," are sung throughout as though, which creates a constant for the rest of the melody to build around. The song progressively builds with strong drum/bass tracks sprinkled with multiple synth tracks that loop and overlay to create a very robust sound. Even though the track carries most of the same feel throughout, we still find ourselves longing for more as the long outro takes over the last half minute of the song. We will admit, the redundancy of the "greatest moment" part was a bit off-putting at first, but after the first listen or two, we couldn't do without it.
This track kicks off in a familiar way for the genre until the vocals come in and take over. The passion in the vocal delivery in this track really pulls your interest even if you do not pay attention to what is being said. The vocals draw comparison to U2's Bono with a tad bit of Bruce Springsteen rasp to go with it. This is great company to be compared to when talking about vocal tracks so this is definitely a plus and a big draw for us to Ward's music.
If listening to this track after the others, you will notice more of the Indie/alt rock feel that we described before. This track features fairly common sounding guitar and drum tracks sprinkled with catchy and layered vocals. To us, this sound maintains the positive elements of the other tracks, including the vocals, with a bit of a different rhythm section. This shows the versatility of Ward's music and abilities and makes us wonder how many of his other electronic tracks were originally written this way.
Check out Observer Drift. There is not a ton of information out there about him, but his songs are gaining traction on streaming services, such as Spotify, with Warm Waves having nearly 1.5 million plays. We love his sound and are slowly working our way through his full body of work. Honorable mention goes to the track "Camcorder," for having the 80s built right into the song title with a tune that does not disappoint. The synth work is stellar and really help push the melody of the vocals.