In 2020, after the releases of Trans Love Vibration (NAÏVE, 2018) and Transcendental Access Point (Interdimensional Transmissions), Eris Drew decided to leave her hometown/city-life in Chicago to move to rural New Hampshire. Here, Drew gathered inspiration from the surrounding environment to record the 9-track album, Quivering In Time. Eris Drew’s debut album Quivering In Time, was released on October 29, 2021, on Eris Drew and Octo Octa’s label: T4T LUV NRG. The album feels a bit like Eris’s DJ sets, with overlapping layers of the analog sample, her records and turntable manipulation support the keyboard riffs, percussions, and scratchy guitar samples. Each track stands to help the artist express her state of presence. The album was written, recorded, and mixed whilst observing the quivering forest through Eris’s studio window, blending her memories and body truly to play in time. Quivering in Time is the sonic embodiment of Eris’s experiences and intentions.
A1: Time to Move Close
Kicking off the album is Time To Move Close, a soft housey tune with catchy claps and old-school vocals (“Clap your hands!”). The evolution of the melodies evokes a sense of love for music and dancing, expressing Eris’s longing for togetherness.
A2: Pick Em Up
As the closing track on the first side, Pick Em Up is a hardcore number taking us on a crazy ride of pounding bass and reversed breaks. Side-to-side dancing and head-nodding club moves are unavoidable as Pick Em Up explodes into what sounds like a 90s rave classic, releasing hardcore vocals (“Pick em up”) and “it might be a different story”. Nevertheless, a must-play for high-energy sets.
B1: Loving Clav
Loving Clav opens the B side with a gritty progressive bassline and vigorous keys. A rollercoaster of stomping and squelchy acid melodies, doors getting shut, and buzzing noises amidst strings. The sampled guitar tones are noticeable here, together with the howling sound of a human voice cheering to the rhythm of the song and the final words depicting a form of evocation (“good times come to me now…”). Loving Clav is a psychedelic experience of electronic music.
B2: A Howling Wind
The second track on the backside is A Howling Wind, a twinkling house number filled with evolving synth lines and hopeful vibrations. Here, Chicago house meets Eris Drew’s magical ability to merge genres and musical influences, making A Howling Wind a versatile passe-partout that will make any club-goer go wild.
C1: Show U Love
Introducing the C side is Show U Love, a ravey number drawing from the same themes of the A1 side Time to Move Close. The track kicks off with a shrill cheering noise resembling the initial screams in Meat Beat Manifesto’s Radio Babylon (1991). Following, D-Shake’s Techno Trance’s “Come On!” sample (1990) is another obvious one the artist used to create the beautiful composition that Show U Love is about, the overarching production bringing the theme together of yearning for togetherness.
The C2 side of the album stands out for its chuggy vibrations and captivating growth. Baby‘s progression bewitches the listener as the track grows and maturates, collecting a stratum break and pounding bass. The pace of the track and stylistic choices — namely the vinyl break at the end — shine through some of Andrew Weatherall’s influence, but that isn’t all; Eris’s deeper understanding of Baby is that it is a song about hope and resilience, elements which can be felt in its layers of beautiful composition.
Getting things rolling in C3’s number Sensation is a buzzing sound followed by a banging groovy bassline. Eris again, shows her genre-dissolving skills, adopting a tempo-shifting approach to her production. Ultimately, with Sensation, she has captured the sensory experience and bewildering mystery of the forest cabin, where she spent the majority of the last 15 months.
D1: Ride Free
“Somehow, individually we have to reclaim our experience that the real message, more important even than the psychedelic experience, the real message that I try to leave with people in these weekends is the primacy of direct experience. That, as people, the real universe is within your reach, always.”
Ride Free is the opening track of the D side, an organ-heavy funky bop serving as an ode to psychedelics, hard dancing, and of course the obvious subjectivity through experience. Blending dance music with what sounds like the beginning of a Beatles song, Ride Free beautifully brings together themes of love, otherworldly experiences, freedom, and togetherness. Eris cleverly juxtaposes samples of rave classics such as, “We wanna be free to do what we want to do” in Primal Scream’s Loaded, 1991. Her production adds in drums, organ keys, and layers of incredible analog manipulation to make a new Fall favorite.
D2: Quivering In Time
Denoting the title of the release, Quivering In Time is the closing track of the album. An energetic number wrapping all elements present in the previous tracks, Quivering In Time parallels Eris’s style of mixing, with her incredible layering skills and vigorous track selection. Similar to Baby, the artist attributed hope and resilience as symbolic elements of the track – Quivering In Time is a real ‘body shaker’, and unquestionably the whole track to finish off the debut LP.
Present in her previous work, Eris Drew’s unique genre-bending approach to music-making makes her a top talent amongst dance music producers to come out in the past five years. Ultimately, her singular sound is a metaphor for her main message, which is that every person deserves to be themselves.
Quivering in Time was released on 29th October 2021 on T4T LUV NRG.
Words by Iman Cavargna-Sani.