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 Ranges‘ Night & 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!