Driving Slow Motion’s debut full-length album Arda feels like a colorful journey through ups and downs of a contemplative night — or more — sitting with one’s own soul. The alluringly immersive experimental post-rock packs textures illuminating a dynamic range, from casual, almost jazzy tunes towards the beginning and elsewhere on the record into a gradually intensifying storm of sound that feels the experience of stepping out into a literal thunderstorm before eventually, the storm clears and there’s a more clear glimpse of the solid foundation that’s been underneath the work the whole time.
The wholly instrumental music provides a flowing, intense experience through these extremes, both offering a warm coat of sorts and forcing a confrontation of the elements thanks to Arda consistently proving unpredictable. The music sits in between a moment of questioning and collapse, offering an at times complex portrait of a fraying mood and psyche that hits both pinnacles and valleys. While ethereally fleeting at times, the music feels very true to life, so to speak — it hits with a continued energy and is even catchy, at least as much as it can be.
Mostly, the band center their new work on a powerful and poignant post-rock texture, with carefully presented, drawn out melody, but they do a ton of remarkable things with that melodic framework. Occasionally, for instance, they really feel like they’re at least approaching jazz, and they infuse their entire new album with a sense of atmosphere that expands Arda‘s impact, jostling between each note and song and pushing them further outward. Their uniquely careful approach turns even their most intense moments into another expression of the urge to break free and push through.
In the end, the music feels like it sets the listener down into a “new normal” of sorts, transforming their understanding of the confident rhythmic patterns surrounding them inside and even outside the album and opening them up to new ideas for just how far off the edge that process can go. There’s a sense of subtle liberation that defines the piece; the band capture and funnel a whole host of sprawling textures into something that hits with a unified force.
Arda is available in full on June 7 via the band’s own Fail Safe Audio.
Listen to some below via Bandcamp