Hollie Kenniff
The Quiet Drift


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sunnyvale CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
July 19th, 2021 | 16 replies


Release Date: 07/16/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most blissfully beautiful albums you’ll hear all year (read further for caveats)

The Quiet Drift is only Hollie Kenniff’s second solo release, following 2019’s The Gathering Dawn , but her surname has far wider associations than simply those two albums. She additionally forms one half of the dream pop-ish partnership Mint Julep alongside husband Keith Kenniff, and her spouse is also the man behind the projects Helios and Goldmund (ambient and neoclassical piano, respectively). All this is to say that the Kenniffs come pretty close to that ever-elusive concept, the “power couple”, or at least as near as a duo can get in the sphere of ambient music.

While not quite an instrumental release, The Quiet Drift is an album without intelligible lyrics. As such, it takes a bit more detective work to determine the atmospheric stylings Kenniff aimed to pursue here. One clue is in the album art, which evokes a certain “lonely in a crowd” feeling as well as an undeniable nostalgic quality. Another is the song titles, which seem to primarily express a focus on nature, as with “Four Sides Of The Forest” and “Sunset Chant”. Meanwhile, the name of the album is a brilliant stroke for this sort of music, sounding authoritative while also remaining vague enough to be associated with nearly any theme a listener chooses to concoct. In Kenniff’s own explanation of the album’s origins, though, the name is described as referring to numerous moves in her life from one location to another, and the idea that an individual can retain a certain rootedness despite changes in physical surroundings. She cites childhood memories of the Canadian province of Ontario, mentioning that “the landscape and pace of life of these places will always stay with me”. Ultimately, the essence of the music presented on The Quiet Drift manages to capture a bit of all these influences, weaving together a potent mix of longing and solace which, in the right mood, will bring back to the listener a parade of half-remembered scenes out of the past.

The bulk of The Quiet Drift can be easily described as shimmering ambient, casually gorgeous music meant for getting lost in thoughtful reveries. Above the droning, crystalline notes, Kinneff’s wordless vocals soar as just another instrument. There’s a post-rock vibe to many of the pieces, although the track lengths are significantly shorter and the music less energetic than is typical of that genre. A few songs stand out with distinctive characteristics (such as “Still Falling Snow”, with its pulsating beats, or “The Feathered Fog”, which is reminiscent of Hammock’s more ambient side by adding a smidgen of shoegaze influence and more prominent vocals), and the artist’s husband earns a feature for Goldmund by providing piano on two tracks. However, for the most part the LP flows from one song to another seamlessly.

This is an immaculately beautiful record, lush and dreamy, everything you could want in a release of this style. With all that said, this is very much an album for a niche audience, not designed with catchiness, technicality, or riffs (God forbid) in mind. If approached with the wrong mindset, not only is The Quiet Drift unlikely to impress, but it also will probably be remarkably boring. Indeed, even under the best of circumstances, not every moment here is likely to be particularly gripping, but this is an album which can be thrown on in the background until the listener eventually succumbs to the music’s gentle sway. While I can’t read her mind, I get the feeling that Hollie Kenniff has successfully crafted exactly what she set out to: a meditative piece of soothing melancholy which will probably reach only a fairly small audience, but will be widely beloved within that select few.



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user ratings (7)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I expect this album won't get a ton of attention on Sputnik, but wanted to give a review as I've been vibing with it quite a bit.

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2021


1246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review sunny. haven't heard her solo stuff but the one Mint Julep album i listened to was decent, i'll check this out.

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! Curious to hear your thoughts on this one as you've definitely got a broader knowledge of ambient music than I do, so interested to see how you feel this compares to other stuff in the style in terms of quality.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2021


26709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sounds pretty solid so far. cheers for the review!

Digging: Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Sowing
Moderator
July 19th 2021


38517 Comments


I skimmed this the other day and it sounded pretty, but I glazed over it because this sort of music rarely sticks with me. This review has probably convinced me to give it a fair shake!

Digging: Needtobreathe - Into The Mystery

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 19th 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Atari! Glad you're enjoying.



@Sowing, no guarantees you enjoy this one but I think it's worth a few tries.



Purpl3Spartan
July 21st 2021


807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Summary is correct

Ryus
July 21st 2021


24808 Comments


looks good ill check this

Purpl3Spartan
July 21st 2021


807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is just stellar.



Want to listen to this on a night drive

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers, hope you enjoy!

Ryus
July 21st 2021


24808 Comments


i like that album art a lot which is like 50% of the reason why i check something


Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I get that, I do the same thing at times. This one does have really nice artwork and it fits the vibe of the music well

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2021


1246 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this sounds good to me! very lush. want to listen to this on a night drive [2]

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice, glad you're enjoying @hel9000!

Atari
Staff Reviewer
July 27th 2021


26709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

night drive makes sense but honestly this has been a nice morning album for me. hits just right as I'm still waking up and don't have enough caffeine in my system

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
July 27th 2021


2587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think this is pretty versatile, but I've mostly been spinning it in the morning as well



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