- The Paradigm Shift is Danish producer Martin Swanstein's third album. It represents his artistic evolution from deep house productions to minimal techno and finally to a happy medium between the two genres. Swanstein does his level best to propel the material on Shift straight at club audiences with a set of jacking, looping and groove-conscious material. If you were expecting a murderously epic "artist album" from Swanstein, stand back, there's nothing to see here. Instead he offers alluring and somewhat memorable dance floor material; a collection that could have easily been blended start-to-finish as a DJ mix.
That's not to say Shift is entirely homogenous. Tempos vary from the spacey down beat trudge of "Lavender Mist"—a stoned hip-hop tune that stays interesting for about as long as your spliff lasts—to the skippy snares of "Solaris," a track that swings like Jazzanova's early electro-samba house fare. The other ten tracks are rather tepid variations on the instrumental deep house formula that's been kicking around the UK, Europe and America's West Coast since the late '90s, however. Chords are dually looped, vocal samples are filtered and percussive kick-snare beats cycle forward steadily like Alberto Cantador on a flat 50 mile bike course.
Discovering Swanstein's artistic intentions requires some reading between the grooves. Repeated listens reveal his reverence for Detroit and Chicago-style house popularized by producers Cajmere, Mr. Fingers and Theo Parrish. But his respect for these artists at times becomes willful imitation, especially on "Mr. Decocco," whose sweeping synths strings, swirling pads and handclaps will be all too familiar to Moodymann fans. Elsewhere Swanstein's music bears direct similarities to modern house pioneers like Pepe Bradock or Faze Action. Still, there's something strikingly effective on the filtered house number "Damaged Color," which recalls the nervous energy of '90s warehouse raves. Weird vocal bursts, striking chord stabs and a hypnotically funky rhythm should make this track a DJ favorite.
In fact, despite some bland moments, there are enough surprises to warrant extra listens. Brushes with broken beats, hints at haunted house and rich techno embellishments improve the experience here and there. It's not the dramatic change the album's title proposes, but like the Earth's slow moving tectonic plates, it's an incremental shift toward new artistic territory.
01. Basic Structure
03. Paradigm Shift
05. Mr. Decocco
06. Thought Patterns
07. Lavender Mist
10. Damaged Color
11. Gourmet (Edit)