Album Review: worriedaboutsatan – Shift

worriedaboutsatan Shift

I’ll admit, my music taste has changed substantially over the years. Although I am still a snob (as I think one should be, if they choose to run a music blog), my taste has widened with age. As a teenager I dismissed all electronic/programmed music. To me, the term “remixed” meant ruined, and electronica was just people pushing buttons on computers, instead of playing “real” instruments.

I still remember hearing the track that made me rethink this mindset: worriedaboutsatan’s “You’re In My Thoughts“. Crisp, glassy, moody, excruciatingly well produced – it’s my go to song when I want to test out a set of headphones. Listening to that song made an instant convert of me.

Thinking back, I held a very naïve perception. Electronica already played a part in the rock music I listened to: The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” wouldn’t exist without that sequencer, and Phil Collin’s classic drum fill in “In The Air Tonight” could not be as iconic without the drum machine build up. Distorted electric guitars and keyboards dominate most music I listen to, and those aren’t “real” sounds. The legendary Will Calhoun of Living Colour helped me reach this epiphany when discussing his use sequencers and modulators with me, saying how he wanted to take Jimi Hendrix’s approach of making an instrument sound alien, and apply that to his own instrument. I’m a drummer myself, and now I own an e-kit, for the sake of practicality. 

And then you take my love of post-rock.  65daysofstatic and Maybeshewill were two bands that introduced me to the genre. sleepmakeswaves are one of the greatest live acts within the scene. None of those acts would be who they are without the samples, the glitches, the electronica aspects of their sound.


Image: Sophie Green

Following on from 2006’s Blank Tape, worriedaboutsatan have written a 2 part album entitled Shift. Recorded in one take, in a semi-improvised setting, the results are a bleak, drone-heavy and atmospheric.

“Shift (Part 1)” takes its sweet time, with dense, swirling textures. A shaker-esque metronome adds momentum half way through, which is later helped by a beat with muted kick and two different echoing snare sounds that play on alternate bars. The larger of the two snares sounds like stormy waves crashing upon a rocky shore.

I find “Shift (Part 2)” more exciting. At first listen, I felt a sense of déjà vu, that I was listening to a video game soundtrack or watching an 80’s action thriller. Maybe something like Turbo Kid? Then it hit me. Of course! The elements are all there: ominous bass undertones, eerie atmospheric swelling, 80’s era synth… it’s a throwback to the Stranger Things theme! Now whether this is deliberate homage to the television show or not, I cannot un-hear the striking similarities. 

I’m out of my element trying to describe the music, but a 8 bit melody demands most of our attention while sinister bass lurks in the depths of the song. A murmured metronome plays all the while, sounding like deep-breathing – almost a robotic snore. The last three minutes die off, leaving a tide of ambiance.

It is a stretch calling this two-track release an album, but it stands alongside some great works such as Glacier’s latest, Jakob‘s Dominion, and RangesNight & Day, so I’ll permit it. I’m too young to say for sure, but I’m guessing that people who lived through the 80’s will lap this up – especially “Shift (Part 2)”.

Dense and evocative, Shift is a great addition to the worriedaboutsatan catalogue. “Shift (Part 2)” is especially grand and deserves your attention.

Bring on dunk!festival! I’m looking forward to hearing this live!

worriedaboutsatan links:








Joseph James


EP Review: Masters Of This Land – Self Titled

Masters Of This Land

Masters Of This Land is a post-rock/electronica duo from Cairo (closely linked to another act Go! Save The Hostages!). The two members, Amir and Youssef use guitar, bass, synth, a drum machine and a sampler to create relaxing downtempo music.

An interesting bent to this band is that they use their music to satirize the Egyptian government, as well as current nationalist movements around the world (Trump and Brexit were two examples that Amir offered). I can’t pretend that I am aware of the current situation in Egypt, but Amir has filled me in on some recent history, mentioning a 2013 Military coup following from rule by a Muslim Brotherhood.

This political theme is surprising. The imagery of aggression and power contrasts sharply against the mild downtempo music.

On one hand we see some strong satire of the current regime. The Masters Of This Land eagle symbol found on the album cover is based on the Roman SPQR eagle, a symbol of domination. The EP was released on the anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, when the military first took control. Amir shared that the band name was taken from a quote by a recent post-coup Justice Minister who was a former judge. Translated, what he said was that the judges were “masters of this land, and everyone else are slaves” (reference). The band name, symbol and release date are all pointed attacks on the government through ironic mimicry – an answer to the government’s “brain-melting propaganda”, as Amir put it.

One the other hand we have the wonderful music, which doesn’t invoke thoughts of defiance in the slightest.

Tranquil notes play over rigid electronic patterns. Glitchy beats coincide with serene swells. Acoustic and electronic marry and together they create sounds of peace.

Some of the song names are interesting. “C_LORRI”, full of spacey, sci-fi noises, is named after the file name of the first photo of Pluto that the New Horizons probe sent back to earth. “This She-Wolf Is A Gift To My Kinsmen”, with its music box intro, ethereal coos (possibly an e-bow?) clucky synth parts, was the first recorded sentence in (Old) English, written in Anglo-Saxon runes. “Factory 221” was the codename of the area where the Chinese developed atomic weapons in the 50s/60s.

Writing an EP full of relaxing electronic music is an unusual method of protest, but still something I can endorse. I’m a fan of political music, and have always loved the punk ethos of using music as a vehicle to stand up against injustice. And in a weird way it has worked. OK, so this short EP isn’t going to single-handedly overthrow any corrupt governments, but it has at least made me more aware of what is going on in Egypt.

I don’t wish for any of this to be misconstrued as racist. As I said before, I am largely ignorant to the happenings of the various Arab nations throughout recent years. But I do feel compelled to share when I hear stories of rebelling against oppression and injustice.

Politics aside, Masters Of This Land features some great music, perfect for relaxing to. Instrumental projects are open to interpretation, but this one features some fascinating content if you choose to delve deep. If not, never mind, the music stands up on its own as both calming and interesting.

Masters Of This Land links: