Review: With just the one 400ppm release to his name, 2013's high-octane No Nocere 12" for Avian, you would be forgiven for thinking this was a one-off project from New York's Shawn O'Sullivan. However, given his various other solo and collaborative endeavours (Further Reductions and Civil Duty being the most prominent of the latter) it's no surprise to see a dearth of 400ppm goodness. All that changes with Just In Time, the first 12" of what looks to be a more productive year for Shifted's Avian label than their 2015, and a record that features four superb productions from O'Sullivan. Those wanting some stripped back techno blessed with heady, warping drones and frenetic sequencing will find plenty to enjoy here; "Everyday Extinction" sounds particularly mind-bending.
Review: AVN #011 sees Shifted and Ventress' Avian label look to the USA for the first time, as it taps up New York producer Shaun O'Sullivan for a six-track EP under his new 400PPM alias. O'Sullivan already has a deep knowledge of techno developed over a broad range of musical projects as anyone who has heard his excellent releases for The Corner and L.I.E.S. will attest. Bookended by two stark explorations into noise, the EP is joined by four solid techno productions which all marry the hard-hitting industrial sounds of pioneers like Adam X together with the rolling percussion and impressive sound design of the Berghain school of Dettmann and Klock. The off-kilter syncopations and metallic clutter of "Monoculture" is a particular highlight in what is another essential EP from Avian.
Review: After a series of singles on Shifted's label, Shawn O'Sullivan delivers the debut 400PPM album. It's an angry, bleak affair. Even in its less visceral moments, like on the stepping metallic rhythm and Rose E Kross' muffled vocals on "New Expiration", or the dark, tranced out pulses of "Into The Heap", a gloomy sensibility hangs heavy in the air. "Sintered Bauxite" sees O'Sullivan add frazzled, droning bass to a similarly angular rhythmic workout, while "Bolling Oscillation" resounds to wild sub-sonic bleeps. For the most dance-floor friendly intense iteration of the 400PPM sound, look no further than the slamming, industrial techno of "Metabolic Grift".
Review: Expanding on the two part approach of Shifted's The Cold Light package, A Vision Of Love's Lessons In Hate will be released as a series of self styled "S & M techno tools", with the first part representing the tenth Avian transmission since it surfaced in 2011. Supposedly a London-based archivist and techno profligate, A Vision Of Love creates two tracks of unguarded emotion, with distant industrial booms and harsh MPIA3-style beats moving through a savage miscellany of equalised electronics. Like all Avian tackle this is brutal, and highly recommended stuff.
Review: Since its emergence in 2011, Shifted and Ventress's Avian and Mira labels have become outlets for like-minded producers to express themselves in different creative manners, some choosing to work anonymously (Bleaching Agent) and others not (Burma Camp, 440PPM). A Vision Of Love falls in the former category, with the producer surfacing on Avian earlier this year with the first in a series of a series of self-styled "S & M techno tools" under the banner of Lessons In Hate. With the true identity of A Vision Of Love still very much under wraps, Part Two of the Lessons In Hate series now arrives with chiselled techno drums traversing squalling, savagely equalised electronics crafted using vintage gear and driven by a passion for classic second wave Detroit techno, whilst further alluding to A Vision Of Love's basic themes of S&M.
Review: Avian's third release sees the debut appearance from AD/S, and heads straight for the monochrome thud of a pounding kick, offset by very delicate cicadas of percussion and just a faint whisper of melody. Sigha puts some light soca type snares into the mix on his version, which creates an almost carnival-like techno flavour. That leaves it to Ventress to get slightly broken on their remix, breaking up that thudding kick and sprinkling some haunting magic in the shape of distant, forlorn pads, creating the most atmospheric cut on the EP.
Review: Oliver Vereker was first introduced to as a shadowy, improvisational techno artist with a skill at making 4/4 dance music sound loose and spontaneous. Throughout the last couple of years, however, his sonic sketches have consistently dissolved, breaking down into thick layers of noise and power electronics; it was the debut of his Endangered Species label that marked this change, under the Restraint moniker. A such, last year saw the release of a mixtape on the excellent Ascetic House imprint, two solid houses of muddy cassette noise and pseudo techno that have been reissued by Shifted's equally sublime Avian label. He appears under the moniker Grace, and the two sides have been stripped-out into four cuts, the first two being an abstract pool of venomous sonics, followed by the more concrete rhythms of "Track 3" and "Track 4". Strangely, the more Vereker deviates from structured techno, the more we realise that he's one of the only artists out there making real industrial music in this day and age.
Review: A newly invigorated Avian is back on course after closing sister label Mira, and is now an equal home to outer limits sound experiments and peak time techno weapons. Enter Lituus, aka Chicago artist Connor Camburn, who debuts on the label after a string of cassette releases on Brave Mysteries, Notice Recordings and Marzuka Editions. 19805.-_19905 is a series of single take recordings on hardware instruments. He is quoted as saying that he looked to "express ideas of the unravelling or "de-composition" of musical or architectural spaces through musical forms imagined as inverted contours and negative spaces." Tracks such as "PRTN:_001/.1" and "PRTN:_003/.1" feature not more than an arpeggio whose repetition wanders aimlessly, but no doubt engages this listener with the sense of trance that it induces. PRTN:_001/.2" inflicts the high pitched ringing of an oscillator at full rate alongside feedback and background tape noise. On "PRTN:_003/.2" the delicate melody of an analogue chime dances atop of a flanged signal, sounding like cars speeding over a motorway, it's quite brilliant in its simplicity.
Review: Connor Camburn aka Lituus is back to his very best for the Avian label, except that this time you can marvel at his supremely grey-scaled electronics on your turntable. For people who might not have come across his music yet, the edgy industrial producer has been mainly putting hismaterial out on cassette format, so the opportunity to have him spinning on some decks is always welcomed. Much like his previous works, 2236 S Wentworth Ave is a cold and introspective wall of sound, coated in a noticeable layer of hardware unpredictability which stretches across the entirety of each framework. Attempting to quote the names of these seven segments would be too ambitious given the fact that they are composed of about 15 numbers, but that's precisely the point. Lituus' music is about abstraction and surrealism, or rather an existential world where music is the soundtrack to nothing. Verging on techno at all points, this mini LP is a marvelously fresh take on the extremities of power electronics, and the leftfield genre generally. Shape-shifting and immersive, as always from Lituus.
Review: With their respective careers already seeing them achieve great things in the world of gutter techno, Simon Haydo and Peder Mannerfelt don't really have too much to prove to anyone but themselves, but still they step up to Shifted and Ventress' Avian label with a record that confirms there are always new directions to head down within the bounds of noise-focused 4/4. There is actually a noticeable minimalism about much of the music on Radio Mohave, as fine slithers of percussion dart nimbly around the more bloated tones and textures of the music. Even so, the synths and feedback is handled with care so as to exude an atmosphere that runs deeper than simple distortion fireworks, leaving you with a decidedly affecting release that should tickle the synapses very nicely indeed.
Review: The ever impressive Avian imprint comes good again with another essential release from the equally shadowy MPIA3. Although their name might sound like an obscure audio format, there's no loss of audio fidelity here - "WTTP" is a barebones slice of overdriven 303 driven acid techno, whose delicate flecks wrap around a serious kickdrum and little else. The theme continues on the flip with "Casual Welding", a production whose searing analogue noises sound welded to a highly sprung kick. In a current techno climate full of slate gray minimalism, it's refreshing to hear something go for it tooth and nail - highly recommended.
Review: Brandishing an obscure name reminiscent of some forgotten audio format and accompanied by little to no information as to who was responsible for the music, MPIA3's arrival earlier this year via a 12" for Avian cut a swathe through the sea of mysterious techno thanks to its overdriven 303 heavy potency. We now know MPIA3 to be an alias of Perc Trax producer Truss, and a swift return to the imprint impeccably curated by Shifted and Ventress is afforded here, sporting two further examples of MPIA3's undeniable craft for no-nonsense techno. "Ely" is perhaps the more unhinged of the two, swiftly launching into a hammering 4/4 refrain cloaked in a raw, gated bassline which occasionally descends into full blown acidic chaos. The superbly titled "Squatter's Dog" is slightly slower yet equally well malfunctioned, practically bleeding sparks of bright green electricity.
Review: Yguana is just the third release to date by Plants Army Revolver aka Marco Ragni and Birgan Valentin - but it is so effortlessly executed that it sounds like the work of a more experienced act. This debut on Avian moves from the haunting ambience of "Alpaca Vision" into the gentle drums of
"Annapurna Ritual". The esoteric, dubbed out "Macao" carries with it a hint of menace, but then the pair quickly make the transition to the dance floor with the clipped drums and reverberating textures of "Borneo Memories" and the high-paced, hollowed out rhythms that define the title track.
Review: After a series of releases on his own Resin imprint, Jake Woodhouse brings his Pris alias to Shifted's Avian. Two of the tracks on Heart are drone arrangements. "Intervention" resounds to screeching howls and the hum and hiss of walls of white noise. "Ivory Tower" is more complex and visceral, with Pris adding increasingly volatile layers of droning sound to the track. So what are the dance floor tracks like? "Whatever's Left To Say" is a superb tribal affair that lurches along at a house pace, while "Domestic" is a Blueprint-style, bass-heavy roller that rides filtered waves to reach an epic climax.
Review: Having debuted on Avian in 2017, techno producer Reeko makes a glorious return with Fat Punko. The release opens with "Punish or Be Damned", where a disturbing vocal sample unfolds over eerie sound scapes, before Reeko pivots towards the dance floor with the discordant, building minimalism of "Massive Garage Meetings". "Screem'N'Cry" is more abrasive, with pummelling broken beats and pile-driving percussion overlapping, while "Nervous Idiots in the Bar" moves back towards the abstract, albeit with a darker focus thanks to its synapse-splitting tones and industrial kicks. Rounding off this gloriously moody Ep is the menacing wall of sound that is "Dirty Feeling".
Review: It was only a matter of time before Reeko released on Avian. The Spanish producer has long been a master of dark, industrial techno, and now he brings that sound to Shifted's label. However, La Mala Educacion marks a change in direction for the Spanish producer; for the first half of the EP, his sledge hammer drums are absent. It means that "Engendrado" unfolds to the sound of menacing bass tones, while on "Carne y Demonio", he delivers a raw, frazzled sound scape. By the time he reaches "Las Virgenes Tambien Juegan Con Cuchillos", the more familiar sound of dense, looped techno is audible, while on "Habitacion 877", Reeko drops one of his trademark rough steppers.
Review: In the techno firmament, Shifted's Avian is one of the most respected labels, but Rhyw aka Alex Tsiridis has risen admirably to the challenge here. Following on from last year's first instalment, he opens the second volume with the gentle drones of "Karhide", before putting his head down to drop the supple rhythms of "Happening RN", a hypnotic piece of techno that has shades of Regis. "Opportunist" is similar in structure, but sees Rhyw deliver a more tunnelling groove, while on the grandiosely titled "Byzantine Mahogany" the mood shifts towards a grungy, bass-heavy workout. Rounding this impressive second outing is the abstract "All Structures Are Unstable".
Review: Alex Tsiridis is part of dub techno act Cassegrain, but for this release on Shifted's Avian label, he unleashes a new project, Rhyw. Seeking to straddle both the dance floor and experimental worlds, Cave Walls features the grainy, twitchy "Iroquois" and the dark soundscapes of "Aversion Two". At the other end of the spectrum, there's the dark, pulsing ebm rhythms of "Sylvan" and the creepy, stuttering industrial of "Vixen for Society". However, the strongest track comes as a result of a partial retrenchment by Tsiridis to his default sound. More streamlined than the Cassegrain material, "Vixen for Society" is nonetheless a droning, hypnotic affair that brings the listener through the darker end of the cosmos.
Review: Overseen by Shifted and Ventress, Avian has swiftly become an outlet for anonymous techno, with the almost comically named Shadows debuting soon after two killer transmissions from MPIA3. Any humour at the name is swiftly forgotten as soon as you unleash your record needle on the grungy chaos of the music. Lead track "Where There is Only Light" is an exercise in unrelenting techno brutality, commencing almost out of earshot but swiftly buccaneering into a speaker destroying groove that threatens to unleash its full force for what seems like an age but will still terrify some when it finally does. Next us is the equally tarred "Distorted Images", whose intensity is there from the off, the heavily distorted groove confidently expanding out into full blown floor assault - the accompanying Mike Parker remix recasts the track as an army of creeping robotic insects captured in perfect rhythmic stasis.
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: 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: 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: 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: Despite their impenetrable name and previous releases, SHXCXCHCXSH's second album is strangely accessible. Not in a Katy Perry let's all hum along kind of way, but more due to the fact that it doesn't assault the listener with the concrete weight beats that other SHXCXCHCXSH releases are known for. It seems that the Swedish duo has learnt the value of subtlety, but without losing their edge. From the eerie ambience of "Entering The S-Cloud" through the distorted, noisy electro of "Elo-cution", the atmospheric techno sounds of "The Roots" and the snapping percussion and repetitive machine riffs of "Drain the Lord", Linear S Decoded is one of 2014's best techno albums.
Review: After appearances on a few labels, SHXCXCHCXSH have made Avian their home issuing a couple of releases in the lead up to their debut album STRNGTHS. Across all this output, the unpronounceable Swedish pair has cultivated a singularly skewed brand of techno, mixing up the increasingly popular template of industrial-edged, noisy techno with brittle, syncopated rhythms and flecks of psychedelia-inducing acid. Largely eschewing the usage of vowels, their track titles occasionally sound phonetically like feral cries of yelping pain, and fans of this approach will delight in their return to Avian with the three track VVVLLLLVVV. The title track is perhaps SHXCXCHCXSH at their most playful, focused around a rubbery synth line that pulses with dark energy, whilst the unrelenting final track "MRRRCHNNNN" is apparently the sonic model for how Avian are looking to proceed throughout 2014. Hold tight!
Review: Juno Plus credited Avian as one of 2012's stand out labels and its final release of the year, now available digitally came from mysterious outfit Shxcxchcxsh. It's the third EP from unpronounceable producer(s) and it opens with the equally unpronounceable "RJRJRFFRJRJ", a thundershower of acid loops, squelchy atmospherics and sub bass. A surging bass line replaces the need for drums in "MMMXXQQQWWW" resulting in a sparse and drunken groove. "ZZNNZNZNNZN" is another dancefloor cut replete with what sounds like field recorded clunks and Mills inspired blips while "NNNCCCCRRHH" is upfront techno tailored for the concrete hungry.
Review: Shadowy Swedish duo SHXCXCHCXSH are back with another full length on Shifted esteemed Avian imprint, with SsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs. Always the pranksters, their cryptic language pushes the threshold yet again with the LP's 15 tracks (most come in at around three minutes) taking on increasing variations of lower and upper case. Dark and challenging freeform techno that turns the usual conventions of techno on its head, featuring harsh and textural power electronics plus the blatant abuse of looping, tape delays and excessive overdrive. Deconstructed rave aesthetics drowned in field recordings and surface noise throughout: heavy!
Review: Now firmly established as a label with their own aesthetic and sonic identity, there'd be a sense of expectation attached to a full album from anyone in the Avian camp. That it's the fairly unpronounceable Swedish techno pair SHXCXCHCXSH who've been handed the mantle of first full artist album on Avian only increases that expectation, thanks mostly to the mystery that surrounds them. Label bosses Shifted and Ventress have elected to accompany its release with this STRGTHS RCNSTRCTNS EP which features remixes from themselves along with the similarly minded Sigha. Given the approach of all involved, you should have an idea of what expect and indeed, Sigha sinks deepest into the sludgely noirish mire with his take on "LLDTMPS".
Review: As far as techno goes, the unpronounceable Shxcxchcxsh's work sits at the very fringes of the form. We're reminded of their unwillingness to play by the rules on SHULULULU, their first release of 2018. Issued on Shifted's label, it moves from the title track's twitchy broken beats through the sludge-thick, slowed down noise techno of "SHUDUDUDU" and the spiky, abstract "SHUBUBUBU". The eerie tones of "SHUNUNUNU" and "SHUMUMUMU" suggest the possibility of them retreating from their noisy aesthetic, but the latter track's gut busting bass stabs swiftly bring the listener back to the visceral, grimy world that they inhabit.
Review: SHXCXCHCXSH don't make things easy. Not only does the Swedish duo have a tongue-twisting disregard for vowels that renders each track name unpronounceable, they also seem to care little for convention and form. While the former is an inconvenience, the latter is rewarding and it means that while their debut album STRGTHS is a demanding listen, it is also a deeply satisfying experience. Each track on the album is an experience where the listener does not know what is going to happen from one bar to the next. That's not to say that STRGTHS doesn't have its share of dance floor techno tracks, "LTTLWLF" and "PCTSTSS" stand out in this respect. However, the really memorable tracks are the ones realised out on the fringes where rules are discarded, such as album opener "LDWGWTT" which moves from grinding riffs into an eerie soundscape before embracing searing acid, as beats run in and out of time in the background. STRGTHS is uneasy listening music of the highest order.
Review: The Purification Loops may be Sigha's debut proper on Avian, but the Berlin-based producer is no stranger to the label operated by Shifted and Ventress. There have been numerous Sigha remixes on Avian releases since the label was established, and Avian have also revealed he was behind the self-styled "S & M techno tools" project A Vision Of Love. Some six tracks deep, The Purification Loops find Sigha "blurring the lines between the dance floor and the ritual chamber" and it fits right in with the direction explored recently by anonymous Swedish duo SHXCXCHCXSH on their Avian return. Prolonged repetition seems to be the order of the day, even if this takes a more meditative form on "Loop Three" or club ready in others - "Loop Four" and "Five" seem destined to test the structures of the more heady techno clubs.
Review: At last, our UK compatriot Sigha reappears on the excellent Avian label, pretty much the most consistent techno label to have surfaced over the last five years...and we deeply thank Shifted and Ventress for their continuity. Techno Derivatives is more daring than Sigha's other work for the imprint, where the EP is split into six parts, six segments of broken analogue techno - not for chin-strokers but for open-minded dancers! The beats are grainy, almost sandy, and they rarely fall into a steady 4/4 pattern as usually expected from the both the artist and the label. The tunes almost feel like pieces of noise loops that have been torn down and reassembled into some sort of techno flavour and there's a clear sense of rising climax, where the stuttering strands of percussion grow and retract with utter ease. This LP is something else, a real breath of fresh air in a genre that can become so easily sterile. Ya need this!
Review: Ryberg collaborates occasionally with Cristian Vogel and even that reference point will not prepare the listener for the ambition of his debut solo album, Entangled. It starts with the rattling industrial techno of "Palacelike Timescale Of Black", but in case the listener was expecting a succession of doom-laden tracks, it is not representative of the album as a whole. Straight afterwards, the Danish producer veers into white noise on "Spacelike Orphan" and "Trispider", while "The Presence_Eurydike" sees him flirt with neo-classical sounds scapes thanks to the use of chilling strings. An emotive work from start to finish, the centre piece of Entangled are the atmospheric broken beats of "Quantum Skull" and "Magnetic Force".
Review: The Empire Line is a new project that brings together two of experimental electronic music's finest practitioners, Northern Electronics co-founder Varg and Posh Isolation co-founder Christian Stagsgaard. The four tracks showcased on this debut EP were apparently recorded at Mayhem in Copenhagen, a renowned experimental performance and rehearsal space. The cuts can be divided into two distinct camps: the atmospheric noise-meets-ambient flavours of "Fragrance Arpege" and fuzzy, sprawling "Jewelry Armoire", and the percussion-driven dancefloor darkness of "Cafe Anglais" and "Syndicat de la Couture". The latter, with its meandering acid lines, hushed electronics and shuffling drumbeats, is arguably the record's standout moment.
Review: The second release from Shifted's Avian imprint comes from the equally enigmatic Ventress, showcasing a minimalistic sound with the well-tooled precision of Sandwell District members Silent Servant and Function. The EP opens with a firm bass pulse and muddy kick emerging out of the gloom, as glassy textures circle in the background, while A2 offers layers of drone rolling in like a pitch black stormcloud. B1 sees a looming monotone refrain slowly closing in on a relentless 4/4 kick, building to a dubby crescendo, and B2 closes with the sound of rattling corrugated iron and radar bleeps inside an echo chamber. Following Shifted for Avian's second release was never going to be easy, but Ventress has excelled themselves.
Review: Shifted's label is usually known for its tough, linear techno, so Emblematic Ruin is a release with a difference. The stage name for Irish producer Andre Gough, Verge leads the listener into a world where grayscale noise and atonal guitars prevail. "Conduit" and "Thorri" resound to slow motion beats and moody guitar chords, while on "Spleen" and "Deluge", Gough leaves the notion of following conventional compositions at the studio door as bursts of white noise and feedback merge together to form a blurry, indistinct whole. That said, one of the strengths of "Ruin" is the fact that Gough never veers into gratuitous experimentation and both "Hinterland" and "Suspension" are wonderfully emotive, guitar-laden soundtrack pieces.