REDSHIFT: Oblivion (2004)
Updated: Dec 5, 2021
“Apart from a few good moments, Oblivion left me on my appetite”
1 Oblivion 10:28
2 Leave the Light On 5:54
3 Flow 12:31
4 Under The Sun 3:00
5 Runes 14:47
6 Small Bright Light:Gone Out 6:40
(DDL 53:20) (V.F.)
(England & Berlin School)
Recorded in studio, OBLIVION marks a new beginning for Redshift. Guitarist Rob Jenkins has retired. So, no more electric guitar! To replace him, Mark Shreeve called upon his good friend Ian Boddy. Like in Halo, the work was composed and performed by Mark Shreeve, except Flow made with the complicity of his partner in the Arc adventure. I might as well say it from the start, OBLIVION left me on my appetite. Apart from a few good moments, the title track and Flow, the rest of the album sounds a lot like déjà vu. But when it comes to terror ambiences, Mark Shreeve has really surpassed himself here!
The title-track starts off like a good Redshift. Dark breezes and arrhythmic pulsations set a canvas of terror where those voices you don't want to hear are hooting. The flow is fast, without being driving until the sequencer puts down a dented rhythm line that undulates in a swagger. More keyboard chords follow suit, while the sound effects focus on voices moaning in fright. But no matter, the rhythm weaves its earworm. No guitar? No problems as the band introduces keyboard riffs that sound like guitar loops. This introduction rises in intensity until it hits the 5 minute mark. There, Oblivion stagnates in an atmospheric phase consisting of the beats of its opening and a sampling of voices and murmurs. It lasts about 60 seconds when more riffs go into rock mode, restructuring Oblivion's second phase into a big electronic rock of the England School style that is unique to Redshift's signature and shakes walls and eardrums. It's heavy, dark and intimidating! The finale is at the doors of our eardrums when the last dark keys are jumping like mocking goblins under the enchantment of a fine synth line, always straddling the line between light and darkness. Thus is made Oblivion and thus will be made the rhythmic and atmospheric phases of the album. Theatrical as well as cinematographic, Leave the Light On is more atmospheric and proposes a melody that evaporates in the organic rustles. Almost pastoral, the ambience is to cut with a knife so much it is so dense. In fact, the impression of being in a gutter dripping with the sweat of fear permeates these ambiences which are propelled by violent breezes, bringing back this melody that disappeared in the abysmal depths of the introduction.
These winds lead to the dystopian opening of Flow. Sinuous drones roam its skies, regurgitating the overflow of sounds over a delicate piano that tries to charm an avian fauna. It doesn't take long for the tinkling of the underworld to spark a melody dancing like a disjointed puppet. A spaced out pulse serves as a base for the tinkling, from which moiré arpeggios are dancing in their shadow. The pulsation accelerates as much as these sequenced melody pieces that twirl in a muddle of rhythmic and melodic shadows. A layer of energetic voices imposes itself after the 6th minute, accompanying this rhythm which has become melted in a poly percussive phase. The jumping keys of mixed colors vibrate around the electric piano chords and cling to Ian Boddy's intensity up until Flow is absorbed into a finale where the drones are gurgling until Under The Sun's opening. This dark track sinks its short minutes into a Mephistophelian atmosphere where the sounds take on appearances like hiccups of fright that go beyond comprehension. It sounds as if Mark Shreeve rewrote the book of blood in music. That gives you an idea of Under The Sun's dimension. Runes is in the vein of the good Redshift or Arc, but in a more progressive if not experimental way. Its opening is in every way the same; dark winds and growing pulsations that roll under winds that reach staggering tonal proportions. Between dark ambient and powerfully hellish stationary rhythm, Runes requires volume adjustments to preserve sanity. I don't think it would become one of my favorite tracks from Mark Shreeve and Co. Small Bright Light:Gone Out is a long finale of the well-known dark ambient genre of the Redshift repertoire. It's ok, with good peaks of intensity. Except that Shreeve's gang has already sounded better in such a proposal. A bit like the whole of OBLIVION for that matter.
Sylvain Lupari (March 3rd, 2007) ***½**
Available at Redshift Bandcamp