The Liminal Drifter Files

Welcome to our new music feature – The Liminal Drifter Files.

We love ambient, electronic music. Something deeply soothing and thoughtful about it. And the Liminal Drifter, aka Dr Simon Order, a Freo-connected guy who makes electronic music we think is well worth listening to, has kindly agreed to regularly share and discuss his music with us here on the Shipping News.

If you’d like to hear Dr O wax lyrical about this genre of music, and read more on the Drifter, then click right here!

The Drifter has a new single, Box Seat, dropping today, 8 August, and a whole new album, Cortisol 22, aiming for your ears on 19 September. Ambient electronic, ear candy ahoy!

Our editor, Michael Barker, asked the Drifter a few questions about the new single, Box Seat, and he kindly obliged with these responses.

Q1. Simon, what’s with this title?

The single is an ironic take on my patient experiences in hospital. The whole album is shot through with undeniable beauty and hope, but the tunes are actually over-shadowed by a number of serious health issues I faced over the last couple of years. I’d never really experienced longer than a day in hospital until late 2020 when my mortality was brought into sharp focus. I spent some time in hospital during late 2020 and later more time in 2021. The Box Seat is my hospital bed. Treatment in hospital has strict rhythms. The doctor comes at a certain time of day, the nurses come at regular intervals, the drugs come more often than all of them and of course the food comes as regular as room service. You don’t actually have to move much, except for nature breaks. I felt like a voyeur of hospital life in my Box Seat.

The door of my room was usually open and I would see people being wheeled up and down, but more than anything, it was the audio that made me feel like a voyeur. Hospital wards are noisy places. Nurses and doctors chattering, machines beeping, blood pressure cuffs inflating, trolleys squeaking, orderly’s gossiping, kitchen staff delivering food, patients losing it, swing doors swinging, and of course, conversations with my carers. It was a 24hr cacophony of ward life. All through the night stuff is happening, hopefully quietly but not always.

I was one of the few ambulant patients on the my second visit to hospital so I also went for short walks around the ward, which most nurses thought was weird but again it was my Box Seat of voyeurism. Sometimes I wouldn’t be allowed to walk to appointments in different parts of the hospital. They would sit me in a wheel chair and I would get chauffeur service in my Box Seat. I had a room mate on my second visit. He was brought in after a stroke. He needed surgery but the surgery brought significant risks. His whole family came in to discuss what he was going to do, knowing full well he might not recover from the surgery. I was a fly on the wall of this family discussion about his life and death. I was forever changed by hearing that touching family conversation. I was in a very privileged Box Seat. I shouldn’t have been there. Those were private family moments.

Q2. Do you want the listener to hear or feel or sense something in particular as they listen to it, or is entirely a matter for them?

Box Seat comes from dark times for me but hospitals are also about healing and hope for the staff and the patients. I would like to think that listeners can hear the hope and beauty. When faced with dark times, sometimes I make uplifting music that helps me get through but also acknowledges the darker underbelly. Even though Box Seat is about a voyeur of hospital life, I also imagine a music street parade, like Pride or similar, in a big city and my vantage point is a balcony a few floors up. From my Box Seat, I can watch the stream of vibrant human life passing in front of me celebrating their humanness and life. That’s my vision of the track but I would value hearing what it conjures from others.

Q3. Out of interest, how long was the creative process from go to whoa in making this track?

Most of the tunes on the album were started in hospital and finished at home. I make a lot of scratch ideas very quickly. I hate spending time agonising over tunes. If it’s too hard it’s no fun. Making music should be play, play and more play. If a scratch idea doesn’t come in two hours, I move on. However, once a good scratch idea is birthed, then I can spend weeks or months tweaking. Box Seat was the last tune to be made. It happened really quickly, probably a couple of weeks. I think the title set me up. There’s another track on the album, “Once a Day” which is about the rhythms of hospital life. I remember the nurse saying, “You only have to take this pill once a day” . I think it was that moment that made me think about my Box Seat.

Now folks, sit back and look and listen to the Box Seat video right here.

And for the record, here’s The Official Liminal Drifter Website.


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