DJ Drez Goes from Underground to Outer Space on 'Alpine Swift' (Review)

DJ Drez is set to release a new album, Alpine Swift (2016, Nectar Drop Music), across digital platforms everywhere on June 7, 2016.

YOGANONYMOUS had the chance to chat with Drez to get the lowdown on this most recent effort. Read the article below, and listen to the audio here:

“…during their migration from Switzerland to West Africa… [alpine] swifts remain in the air for 200 days straight… Their activity pattern reveals that they can stay airborne continuously throughout their non-breeding period… and must be able to recover while airborne…” (Source: International Business Times)

“To recover while airborne” is to find rest in motion, stillness amidst activity, calm among chaos.

Yogis of old have transmitted to us specific techniques to accomplish this state of inaction in action. I wonder if they were aware of the steel birds and shiny, all-knowing screens that would come to dominate modern life on Earth?

Siddhis (a yogic power) like bi-location are understood to be a distraction from the ultimate goal of yoga, but I believe there are days when DJ Drez wishes he had this tool at his disposal. The man is everywhere and back again, in high demand as a producer, musical director, and guaranteed dance party-starter.

Describing his tour schedule, Drez starts to say something about “the summer season” but stops himself, since at this point it’s all the same perpetual motion. It is from this experience of constant migration that his latest release, Alpine Swift, arises.

This collection of music is essentially ethereal, floating through impressionist clouds of multi-colored sound while intermittently touching down for a potent, earthy nectar drop. From underground to outer space, the bass is pervasive and equally well suited to accompany the practice of dance, romance, or yoga asana. 

Indeed, Drez tells us that the album “very much comes from a place of love, and love-making.” Time on the road—necessarily one of those “non-breeding periods” when the swift remain in the air—serves as inspiration. Forced to be away from his wife, the mere imagination of their love-making acts as a grounding cord, connecting him to his earthly self as he roams the ether.

With a freshness that will be instantly familiar to Drez’s long-standing fans, this release nonetheless represents a significant evolution.

Reminiscent of Drez’s previous Plum Mood releases, with sections that remind me of Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience (2013, RCA Records), Alpine Swift feels like getting off a plane at 4 a.m. (or maybe it’s midnight?) exhausted and disoriented in time but alive with the clarity and pep-in-your-step that comes from finally nearing a long-sought destination.

With a freshness that will be instantly familiar to Drez’s long-standing fans, this release nonetheless represents a significant evolution. Just like Dreaming in Sanskrit (2015, Black Swan Sounds), Alpine Swift finds music-making by Drez ornamented by Marti Nikko’s sultry, soul-full singing. This time around, however, Drez’s very own voice is in the mix.

This is a new realm for Drez, who in the past has limited his vocal contributions to unrecognizable background samples. Releasing an album on which he sings his own lyrics seems to be the culmination of a long gestation period wherein trial, error, and perseverance have bestowed upon him the powerful fruits that grow from the seed of speaking up.

For many of us, singing in public is about as vulnerable as it gets. Alcohol is often a prerequisite for karaoke, and Om’ing in yoga class only seems safe after everyone else has already started. Similarly, Drez says he’s “a DJ for a reason.” Surrounded by wordsmiths, artists “blessed with the gift of gab,” he enjoys the relative silence of speaking with his hands. 

That being said, there is no more powerful instrument for personal expression than one’s own voice. In this case, we the music-consuming public and yoga community are the beneficiaries as Drez continues to develop this dimension of himself, both as an artist and as a human person.

Now that he’s on record, there’s no telling what’s next, although more airport lobbies and scenery blurred by the speed of a train are a sure bet. 

We also know Drez will be at every Wanderlust Festival in 2016, as well as many of the Wanderlust 108 events. His complete schedule is available at DJDrez.com, and his music is available for download at djdrez.bandcamp.com.

Alpine Swift (2016, Nectar Drop Music) will be available June 7 through Amazon, iTunes, and everywhere else. For more, listen to the audio of the interview we did for this article, complete with musical samplings from the new album. 


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David McConaghay is a Colorado-based student & teacher. His mission is to share with the world information, attitudes and techniques of proven benefit to his experience as an individual Earthling. His work and play is available at SatsangEtc.com.