Originally released in 2004 this studio recording was composed and performed by Mark Shreeve apart from the track "Flow" which features electric piano and synthesiser playing by long time musical comrade Ian Boddy.
This is another Redshift album that employs crossfades between all the tracks to give the work a more organic flow.The entire album was remastered in 2007 and in fact, the last track "Small Bright Light:Gone Out was completely remixed. The cover artwork was created by Gary Scott.
"I've only been aware of Redshift for a couple of years or so, in fact the entire "scene" that they seem part of was, until recently, almost totally unknown to me. I'm from the Dance music world, I may as well have been from a different galaxy.
A friend of mine was playing the band's "Halo" album while I was round, I was instantly drawn to the strange atmosphere their music constructed. "Rich and dark" according to my chum. I now think I see where he was coming from.
Since then, I've dug out a few more works from Redshift's history, and while none quite reach the emotional precipice of "Halo" there are some wonderful creations to get wrapped up in.
So last week a review copy, or freebee if you prefer, of "Oblivion" dropped onto my doormat.I've lived with it since. Lived with it, loved with it, cried with it and even felt a real sense of foreboding because it.
This album extends the path formed by "Halo" toward a stranger, almost disconnected emotional experience. For me, the sign of powerful art is that it can dramatically change your everyday,wide-awake self from one emotional state to another in an instant. "Oblivion" has that power.
Rather than critically deconstructing the entire album rock by rock I'll focus on the opening and title piece.
Entering with a creepy, industrial but light pattern "Oblivion's" real intent quickly approaches in the guise of a dark and distant subsonic pulse that forms somehow from freezing mist into a real groove of intricate colour. A languid but menacing bass line then lopes from the speakers, and man!, what a sound!, serenaded by lonely calls and voices, human but somehow not. A feeling of stark desolation.
What was once amorphous begins to take on form and shape, the tension of unseen threat ever-present. The ensuing climax suddenly dissolves into one of the coolest breakdown grooves I've ever heard heralding a mysterious interlude that is punched out by the returning and even angrier rhythms. If the previous high was a climax then this section simply goes mad, not so much a wall of sound, more a vast edifice.
And then to my absolute favourite sequence of the track, the pomp starts to decompose into softer but more sinister focus. An almost slurred and desperately sad melody/harmony pairing played from a million miles away try to soothe the still-stalking bass line. It feels as if you are on some weird Parisienne walkway in another universe while the devil himself is pacing all around you (I really should cut back on these cold remedies).
And as the last fragments of life fall from the background you are left with an achingly lonely piano, sadly padding it's way to……well, Oblivion.
It left me haunted.
This CD is full of heart-twanging and enthralling music, from the magnificent violence of "Runes", to the ghostliness of "Leave the Light On" and the ironically freezing atmosphere of "Under the Sun".
The album departs with a tortured cry from a heartbreakingly melancholic flute-like sound that spirals up into who-knows-where? I felt as if my very soul had departed while I was still alive.
I don't think Redshift need ever release any more music, because I don't see how they better this." Paul Graham 2005
"Stunned from the sheer power of 'Faultline', Redshift deliver the knock-out punch in the form of their latest studio outing 'Oblivion'.
Wasting no time they get straight into the title track which opens with weird industrial style atmospheres. A deep bass throb starts to emanate subliminally from the speakers. Supplemental electronic pulsations start to adorn the vast bass valleys which are being scoured out in glacial fashion.
Variation is found largely by morphing the synth voices rather than mutating the patterns, and it's a hugely effective tactic. Synth lines build a massive wall of sound until a brief breather is taken at the five minute mark. The sequence is reigned in as more delicious effects are allowed to prosper. Then at just under the 7 minute mark the wall of sound appears again with renewed vigour, the sequence now regimented bringing to mind a huge behemoth pounding its way across a vast landscape.
The track fades slowly at the 10 minute mark leaving electronic piano which segues into 'Leave the Light On'. Appropriately titled, track 2 is a scary atmospheric collage which builds tension and menace throughout its 5 minutes in the spotlight.
We then get into the 12½ minute 'Flow' and what an awesome track this is, supplemented by Ian Boddy who plays electric piano and polysynths. The sequences soon start to emerge, and what brilliant pulsations they are. More in the traditional Berlin style rather than Node, they build mesmerically using sonics ranging from the depths to the very highest registers.
Again tremendous variation is obtained by morphing the voices rather than the patterns, and the trump card is played at the 6½ mark as it all melts into a resonating morass leaving just a skeletal pattern. Totally mind blowing. The sequence elements then start to pull themselves together slowly accompanied by some superb synth work. Then at 9 minutes it's back into full flow. This track is an ace!
The short 'Under the Sun' is another suitably resonating bridge before we get into what is, for me, the feature track of the album. 'Runes' weighs in at just under 15 minutes and emanates from more deep bass pulsations. The oscillators spit venom with every convulsion. Grudgingly they start to adhere to the sequencer's increasingly complex signals. Amorphous synth lines pick out a deceptively infectious theme then the sequences really take off, squirming in ever more perverse mutations.
Choral voices now underpin the soundstage as the sequences break forth in a torrential wall of raw energy. The ebb and flow is fascinating to behold, the way various elements are ripped apart, thrown into the mixer, then reformed in ever more complex manifestations.
Eventually the electric piano picks out a simple but beautiful theme as the track gradually deconstructs into the final piece 'Small Bright Light: Gone Out', and what a beauty this is. A fantastic choral theme, bringing to mind something like Tomita's work on 'Snowflakes', blends an infectious melody with a subliminal sequence and sweeping atmospherics which weave a desolate, windswept spell before beautiful 'tron flutes create a pure TD style pastiche to close the album.
Genius, it's the only way to describe this album. Though it's less "in yer face" and overtly enjoyable than, say, 'Ether' and 'Siren' it has subtlety and detail which you could study for a lifetime. Every note, every layer, is a work of art. Totally unique, totally organic, constantly shifting. Sequencing and synthesis being taken to new levels." (GG)
released October 9, 2004
Composed, performed and produced by Mark Shreeve except "Flow" which was performed by Ian Boddy and Mark Shreeve.
Cover design by Gary Scott.
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