- Though I expressed concern about the bland anonymity of new English techno project Shifted, as ever, things in dance music move fast and Shifted's second solo outing already shows considerable signs of improvement. The second release on Szare's Syndrome Z Imprint sees the producer adopting a slightly softer sound, less dominated by the bassy thud of toppling kicks and leaving more room for a spacious midrange.
With its polished granite textures and carefully padded thump, "Reach" is a dead ringer for the kind of lucid, flowing techno proffered by the earliest Ostgut releases, recalling the Klock & Dettmann "Scenario" collaboration or the latter's "Quicksand" especially. It's a slightly gentler but no less effective sound, nudged along by pulsating chords that keep it constantly on the verge of climax. Szare slows things right down and seizes on the track's dub techno potential, diverting the original's forward trajectory into deep, sensual dips.
Shifted moves back into his comfort zone with the bulldozing "Subject Matter," which tenaciously chips debris off its uneven surface, recalling a subtler version of the industrial self-destruction of Tommy Four Seven's recent work. It's loud, it's a little abrasive and highly accessible, enough to make all of my previous issues with the Shifted project a distant memory. While it still sounds like he's working firmly within the realm of his influences, with production values and sensibilities like these, there's hope yet for something more unique to emerge from behind those ominous shadows.
A2 Subject Matter
B Reach (Szare Remix)