Label: Bed Of Nails
Release Date: 25/11/2013
Shifted’s releases have always hinted at the possibility of moving away from the dancefloor; his blackened, sound-design heavy signature having as much in common with early noise & industrial as it does does with the techno scene from which he has made his name. Under A Single Banner comprises the second full-length release from the Shifted moniker following 2012’s Crossed Paths on Mote-Evolver. Whilst the LP is largely dancefloor-functional, this is in the most dynamic possible sense, bringing abrasive drones and apocalyptic textures further into the foreground than ever.
It is easy to see why Shifted is often mentioned in the same breath as Downwards affiliates such as Samuel Kerridge; this record sharing more than a few crossovers with Kerridge’s own album release for this year, A Fallen Empire. Most notably perhaps are the similarities in grinding, bass drones and deadpan, hollow atmospherics. Opening track ‘Core In Stone’ makes a fine example of this - metallic textures swirling in the periphery whilst menacing low-end slowly gathers intensity.
Unexpectedly, the style of production Shifted has brought to labels like Mote-Evolver also find their place on the LP. The disorientating ‘Suspended Inside’ for example fitting in neatly alongside the other abstract, early-hour offerings with its heavily filtered chimes and vapourous percussion.
Of these, radioactive bubble-bath ‘Pulse Incomplete’ is especially unconventional, bounding kick drums rollicking along beneath pulses of static and piercingly sharp hi-end percussion. Subsequent track ‘Contract O’ follows a similar trajectory, swollen low-end rumbling beneath alien bleeps and squelches, all the while driven forward by the insistent slicing of hi-hats, carried off with military precision.
In the past it has often been said that techno is a genre plagued by inadequacy and shortcomings when it comes to producing in the album format. However, with the release of Under A Single Banner, alongside Samuel Kerridge’s aforementioned LP and standouts from Exium, Reeko & Zeitgeiber this year just to name a few, I can’t help feeling this perception being in need of serious challenge. For Shifted’s part, Under A Single Banner gives us an insight into an aspect of the Berlin based producer’s sound strongly hinted at in the past, but up until now, never revealed quite as extensively as this record so successfully does.