The material on Solar Drifting first appeared on a myriad of formats with an array of labels, including Eat, Sleep, Repeat and Trensmat. Now these bits and pieces of the Expo ‘70 world are collected as either CD or tape depending on preference. Weird and wonderful singles jams, dual released by Zoharum and Sonic Meditations.
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- Solar Drifting by Expo '70
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Justin Wright’s project is about where the journey takes him, not us; improvising around synths and drifting into tectonic shifts in sound, his compositions take an ambient framework and busy it with accidental information, each effect or flourish disrupting an otherwise steadfast piece of music. On ‘Solar Drifting’, he collects blaring kosmische jams that never became longform compositions, the bits of song that developed but didn’t end. Think of this record of sound bites as Wright’s version of a Franz Kafka novel; it’s quite compelling but it ends on the word “and”.
In actuality, these pieces can still be long and droning; “Soft Wave Continuum” opens up proceedings with an aggressive sustained synth that bubbles for ten minutes before giving way to “Transcending Energy From Light”, Wright’s discordant version of a new age piece. Condensed into five minutes, this piece feels more suffocating than your standard Expo 70; the track glares with its ambient soundscape but never quite travels elsewhere. Collating these odd tracks actually makes them sound harsher than anything Wright’s done, his electronics sounding sharp and whining and staying in that lane semi-permanently. See “Crawling Through Crystal Skies” -- as its name implies, it takes something celestial and makes it feel like a punishment.
When I last heard from Expo 70, the pieces sounded warm if chaotic, but here they sound quite the opposite -- foreboding, even frightening, and less obsessed with chance modulation and cunning effects. Those can appear, but usually through piercing feedback or unkind modular explosions, things that help carry the current of evil; “Sunglasses” is Wright channeling Sunn O))), and ‘Solar Drifting’ is him channeling some sort of drone devil.
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