If I’m on a lengthy train journey, or a bus ride, or a flight with friends – I’m ever so dull. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve got a bit of an issue, especially when friends suggest a game of cards and I swear I can feel the puddles of dopamine evaporate in my brain. I am content to sit and stare out the window, just totally shutter off interaction and ponder. In a metal capsule travelling at speed, it’s as if I shrink into myself, vanish into my own thoughts.
The thing is, I don’t really think of anything. That’s the bizarre part. Or at least, I can never recall any of it. The moment a bell dings, or an announcement cuts through the air, all those thoughts slink away, careful not to leave a trace. I’ve been somewhere else, but where? I feel better for it, though, I feel refreshed, as if the knots in my mind have been undone and restitched. Perhaps it is my unsociable pruning method seizing its chance to conduct maintenance.
Like a coffee to a morning, I find liquid drum and bass is the perfect accompaniment to these trips. It doesn’t deliver a mighty gut punch like the usual drum and bass you’re probably thinking of. Instead, it’s more ‘rhythmic chop of a masseuse’, shall we say. Think juice with no bits, the rush of a waterfall, a timelapse of a city at night. Your average drum and bass can be aggressive and gritty, but liquid really is called liquid for a reason – it washes over you.
Stare at train tracks as you’re motoring along and you’ll see them blend into one form with flecks of colour, then suddenly break up and reconnect and intertwine. Sometimes you’ll hear the repetitive click-clack as the train glides over the tracks. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I can’t get over how much liquid resembles these things. A fast breakbeat rushes through its core, and gradually, layers of synth combine with delicate melodies and a deep bassline to create a meditative ambience. And it’s this element of progression that gives my thoughts direction; drives them forwards as I move closer to my destination.
Forza’s filled with liquid, which is great! But I’d love a game that’s centered around the music, a sort of fantastical odyssey which involves, well, not really doing much. Like that iconic scene in Spirited Away where Chihiro and No Face sit on the train and just settle for a bit while soothing piano plays. I crave a first-person experience which plants me at the window seat, arm lolling to and fro as it catches the breeze. I want to be a passenger on a floating ship staring a friendly beast in the eyes as it glides alongside me. I want to sit on the back of a bike and coast through a bustling alien market bursting with colour and fizzing with sound. I want to cruise on a boat in the dead of night, and slowly slice through a lake that teems with life beneath its surface.
Above all, I want liquid to set the pace and direct the experience. As strings soar, or piano kicks in, or synth hits, the environment and the journey should reflect it. It’ll be a way for me to connect with my thoughts as I move between point A and B, so maybe when I shut off my console I will remember where I’ve been. Maybe.
Before I go, let me just leave you with this track by London Elektricity. It’s a cinematic treat unlike anything I’ve heard in liquid.
Sorry, I promise I will leave. But if liquid’s tickled your pickle, then I’d highly recommend looking into more from the artists above, as well as: Keeno, Nelver, Makoto, Dustkey, Natus, and Fred V & Grafix to name just a few.