The Faintest Trace, The Quietest Whisper - (6:41) 130 BPM
Review: How one appropriates themselves is allegedly what Guy Brewer looked inwards and asked himself regarding his current penchant for techno and experimental music and covering up a somewhat secretive past as part of drum and bass duo Commix. The Appropriation Stories LP addresses this subject head on, for his second full length release on Hospital Productions since 2013's Under A Single Banner. The Berlin based producer conducts experiments merging the worlds of harsh and textural techno (as heard on his respected Avian imprint) with industrial noise mayhem as executed under his Covered In Sand or Alexander Lewis aliases. All in all a compelling listen that provides moments of cerebral listening with adrenalised dancefloor fodder.
Review: Expert attention to detail across all visual and sonic elements is present and correct once again on this sick release from the Avian nest with label co-founder Shifted at the helm. Originally spread across two 12"s for the physical release, The Cold Light is presented in its entirety across this digital EP. "Cold Light Sektor A" is all about the contrast between elements as the near incandescent lightness of those dubby chords battles with the growing weight of Shifted's sludgy rhythmic arrangements, while "Sektor B" opts to burrow down a plinking locked groove making it a perfect DJ tool. The swarm like "Sektor C" meanwhile is a repetitious and mind numbing groove of techno, deviating only slightly in variance throughout the track's entirety; "Sector D" turns up the freeze in a production which can be likened to a subdued Mike Parker - whom Shifted remixed recently - as cold Sandwell-style bleeps flutter and hum under Shifted's now trademark four to the floor style.
Review: It seems whenever we hear new music from Shifted on Avian it comes in two parts. The last time the UK producer surfaced on his label was for The Cold Lights 1 and 2 and keeping to a greyscale theme, Guy Brewer unleashed this first EP of Arrangements In Monochrome. It's more serious, glitchy and rock hard techno from the Berlin ex-pat with "You're A Replacement" opening this second double dose with a whirling concoction of industrial atmospheres that sound as though they've come from an underground network of drillers mining for uranium. This moves into "Arrangement In Monochrome I", a track which sizzles and burns like a freshly re-cut slab of DJ Slip's "Every time It Takes Awhile". "6ft Of Silence" is fresh and disgruntled looping techno - good enough to be a locked groove - whereas "The Velvet Rope" roars like a steel grinder cutting through a bolder of iron ore.
Review: This second Arrangements in Monochrome Ep in a strange hardcore techno kind of way is a lot more delicate than its forbearer. These subtleties are best heard in this record's less visceral tracks like the deep Italian brand of bassline rhythms experienced in "Second Wash", to "Lenine", a track which could easily find its way to the record collection of Paul Purgas, and "The Incoherent", a production reminiscent of Milton Bradley's earlier works. They are, however, off set by pounding productions found in the under water Mike Parker modulations of "Arrangement In Monochrome II" and the dirty thumps of a Mike Dehnert sounding "Entartung".
Review: Having already turned all the right heads with its sold out, previously vinyl only releases, Avian, the imprint run by shadowy techno upstart Shifted makes its debut in the digital domain. The label's debut release, from Shifted himself, is an exercise in powerful yet restrained arrangements, with the opening track combining firm kicks with delicate brushstrokes of percussive texture and bell-like drones. The second untitled track meanwhile changes direction totally with a beautifully rendered slice of dark, ambient noise, while the EP closes with a killer track that combines a Dettmann-like simplicity with Shifted's typically nuanced sound design.
Review: Shifted's identity remains a mystery, but crucially, he does not come from the small coterie that has dominated UK techno over the past twenty years. Like the signature image he uses, a grey, shadowy creature creeping through a snowy forest, his infiltration of the sound has been stealthy and understated. In many ways, his lack of connection with techno, his automatic outsider status, has allowed him to effect an entrance into a hitherto new terrain. Like his releases on Mote Evolver and his own Avian imprint, Crossed Paths tingles and fizzes with an atmospheric sensibility that monochrome techno often lacks. All of this is made possible by his distinctive sound design; intricate and subtle, yet at the same time both functional and multi-faceted, where all of these divergent paths cross, you'll find Shifted.
Review: It's been two years since Shifted last released material and over the coming months he is putting out his third album. Before that happens, there's this EP on his own label. "Anti" is an immersive wall of humming static and frazzled white noise, while "In Equal Measure" is an off beat affair as the UK producer layers atmospheric textures over a lithe, stepping rhythm. However, Shifted hasn't left behind the sound that he became known for; on "Persistence of Vision", he takes the pulsing, cavernous techno sound to its logical conclusion and makes the listener feel like they are being sucked backwards through a wind tunnel, the bass booming forcefully all the way.
Review: Guy Brewer aka Shifted set up Drifting Over as an outlet for his dance floor-focused work, and this is exactly what its second installment delivers. "Centipede" is reminiscent of Cosmic/Lost Tracks material at its most dense and opaque, as a repetitive stab is looped over a steely, stepping rhythm. "Gauze" is just as functional; it sees the UK producer drop a series of bleeps over kicks that seem to fall in on top of one another. "A Way Beyond" is less complex and more linear; over a straight groove, rolling snares, not too far removed from those of Richie Hawtin's Plastikman project, are key to keeping the momentum going.
Review: Last year, Shifted owned techno with numerous 12"s under a variety of aliases complementing his curatorial efforts at the head of Avian and of course Crossed Paths, his debut album for Mote Evolver. In turns spooky, bleak and hypnotic, full of dub techno attitude, post-minimal crackle and droning rhythms, it made quite an impression. This follow-up for Bed of Nails treads a similar path, flitting between droning soundscapes, unsettling grooves and intense, murky compositions. While there are tougher, dancefloor-centric workouts (see title track "Under A Single Banner", "Pulse Incomplete" and "Burning Tyres"), these come cloaked in a murky fog of clandestine atmospherics. It feels like the unheard soundtrack to a black and white documentary on urban decay, fronted by a paranoid insomniac. It is, then, both unsettling and quietly impressive.
Review: Guy Brewer's first work as Shifted in a few years serves as a reminder that when it comes to stark, angular techno, few producers are his equal. The title track here is a case in point; tribal drums shuffle incessantly, percussion builds gradually and grimy bass licks are introduced stealthily into the arrangement. It's a powerful combination. On "Seel", the mood is darker and more eerie, with droning texture rising up over a rolling, streamlined rhythm. "Mixen" is just as potent, with Brewer descending down a darker path, where layer upon layer of electronic sounds populate a heads-down drum track.
Review: Having become something of a regular fixture in the Mote Evolver camp, Shifted is back once again to head up Side A of the second Parallel Series 12". As you might expect, the techno comes bleak and throbbing from the Shifty one, although avoiding excessive heaviness over immersive progression and dubby FX. On the flip Samuli Kemppi plies his quirkier trade, using offbeat synth mess to counteract the steady rhythm of the bottom end on "Trans Neptunian". "Detached Object" meanwhile fires off streams of interlocking sounds which spiral around the relentless kick for a classy exercise in techno restraint. Highly recommended.
Review: Parisian publishers Unknown Precept mark their impressive first steps into the musical realm with a compilation of crepuscular techno rather aptly called The Black Ideal. This eight track release houses new material from a dark body of both well established and emerging techno acts and forms an intriguing bond with the debut issue of The Monograph, a new magazine dedicated to electronic music. Ancient Methods and Shifted strip their productions of beats, opting instead for overdriven sound design, while Violetshaped, Svreca, and hard hitting Manchester duo AnD push their drums and compressors to the limit. The emerging Casual Violence blend strings with a cluster of horrific ambient-noise, while last year's prolific ambient and drone pairing Saaad team up with fellow Frenchman Mondkopf for the cavernous "Last Love". Parisian producer Polar Inertia weighs in with the rest of the French contingent on the slow-burning "Antimatter".