After moving to Western Australia from the UK in 2005, Dr. Simon Order formed the solo project Liminal Drifter in 2013, and has since built up an excellent catalogue of music. His new album Connected follows on from well-received 2018 album The Dreams, continuing on a path of sonic exploration. Order describes his sound as an ongoing travelogue between identities, physical places and states of consciousness, which rings as true as ever on this new release.
After listening to Liminal Drifter, it’s not surprising to hear that its creator is a doctor, working at Murdoch University, where Simon Order researches radio and music technology. The sounds he creates are so intensely modified and planned as to be obviously from a background of academia. To listen to Liminal Drifter is to give oneself to an abundance of electronic experimentation, intricately layered and infinitely involving. It’s the type of music that demands one’s complete attention – eyes closed, mind open, everything ready to be aware in the moment to give oneself to his sonic vision.
Connected is less of an album than a creation of atmosphere. Each song positively melts into the next, forming a dense and intricately detailed collage. Choir On Mars is the ideal opener, leading the listener in gently with delicate and airy beats. The first single to be released from Connected, Life on Mars has captured the attention of listeners right across the world, hitting a massive number two on the North American College and Community Chart Chill Albums chart this month.
Braxton recalls the melancholia of 90s electronic music, infused with sad and weighty beats as the song unfolds. There are good uses of samples, particularly on Happy Garden of Life, a spacey song filled with layered synthesizers. Sheep Radio feels like a companion piece to Braxton, the morning song to its late night haziness. It vibrates with sunny warmth, like a dub electronica soundtrack to the walk home under early sunrise.
This is From Earth feels like an anachronistic title for Drifter, for the soundscapes he moulds seem not of this world, possessing an ethereal quality. Perhaps he’s just reassuring his audience that a human created the music after all. It’s also curious that Drifter calls the last song Atlantean Shaman, referencing the utopian ideals of the famed lost city of Atlantis. As the introspective electronica plays us out, it’s not hard to imagine a utopia being enveloped by the soothing and thoughtful sounds of Liminal Drifter.