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CD Feature/ Redshift: "Last"

img  Tobias
According to founding member Mark Shreeve, Redshift gigs are few and far between. Prohibitively high costs and the logistics of moving several pieces of equipment, many the size of a massive cupboard, from their studio to the respective performance venue are making it hard on the band to simply go out there and “do their thing”. Add to that the delicacy of original instruments from the 70s used in their sets as well as their implied value, which would give any uptight insurance broker weeks of bad sleep, and you have all the reasons why a group with the potential to turn every concert hall into a temple of halucinatory sequencing, has had to stay home for largest parts of their long career.

It is therefore a double pleasure to welcome Redshift back both with new material and a live set at the same time. “Last” was recorded at the Hampshire Jam 5 Festival roughly one and a half years ago and it sees the duo of Julian and Mark Shreeve coallesce with Ian Boddy, one of the few fellow musicians on the scene who can match their daunting durability. The chemistry between them is certainly as respectful and complementary as it is positively confrontational and challenging – none of them is content with playing safe or relying on routine.

Instead, the adrenalin factor is high, with synapses firing serotonine incessantly and the music constantly stirring and recomposing itself. As important as they may be, melody, harmony and timbre are not the elementary elements here. What distinguishes “Last” are its wave-like dynamics, with the trio carefully building up a groove and protracting textures from sonic hot air balloons to a state of atomised compactnessalways feeling for the right moment to explode.

It is a sound, which relies on the inadequacies, impulses and strokes of utter genius that come with three people standing on stage together and which can never be imitated by whatever intelligent software will be available on the market.

Possibly as a result of this tension, the album has also turned out slightly sinister and haunting. It is certainly erotic rather than sensual, physical rather than astral, to-the-point rather than spacious, apocalyptic instead of futuristic and dark in a beautiful way. While extended cuts like the nineteen-minute psychoactive seduction of “damage”, brimming with sequencers and yearning guitar lines rising up from the depths and filtering out into a bloodred sky, keep the body engaged, it is shorter, ambient moments like “nightshift” or the e-piano vision “long way out”, which set the mood and award a maelstrom-like depth to the work.

It is hardly ever a demonstrative outburst that Redshift are after. On the title track, they seem to be headed straight for a stark emotional climax, only to ease the pressure and build the track from scratch with more warmth. I know that the band have objected to their music being categorised as anything else but “Electronic Music”, but the way in which they care more for the moment than for preconceived schemes, the way in which solos and group efforts take turns and the breath in their music often reminds one of Jazz. Having said that, it is all the more regrettable that “Last” will probably remain one of the few live documents in their discography.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Redshift

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