REDSHIFT: Redshift V Halo (2002)
“Halo is a wispy album that moves with the grace of a snail with a full belly”
1 Leviathan 10:00
2 Rhode Kill 2:46
3 Panzer 4:03
4 Different Light 2:35
5 Halo 14:21
6 Savage Messiah 7:00
7 Rise & Shine 5:14
8 Turbine 7:11
9 Leaving 4:57
(DDL 58:07) (V.F.)
(Dark ambient Berlin School)
Here is a very particular album from the Redshift universe. How about a darkly ethereal album? More ambient than rhythmic, HALO is Redshift's 5th album, but let's say rather of Mark Shreeve since it is the latter who conceived it from A to Z. That explains this vision of a more intimate and quieter album with a still heavy music where Shreeve shows that he is the most Redshift of all than the other Redshift members.
Like its title, Leviathan is steeped in mystery! It opens HALO with sly beats whose elastic shadow forges a steady rhythm in an azure haze. Arpeggio are sparkling, skipping and twirling innocently on this peaceful structure with those Arabian tunes blown between the winds that charm not only snakes. These arpeggios become sequenced and, with the beats, solidify the structure of the track. Its long minimalist course shakes its torpor at times with momentary agitations, as stroboscopic jolts that ignite our interest de facto. The rhythm, like the ambiences, increases its velocity until it becomes more fluid after the 5th minute. From ambient, it becomes the property of a good old Redshift where only its legendary heaviness is missing. This fluidity guides Leviathan towards windy and gloomy territories around the 7th minute. Where everything is to be redone, except that, exhausted, the music lets itself be dragged towards the Mephistophelian abyss. This so unique territory of Redshift! From its finale comes Rhode Kill and its electric piano chords that jump around in a Redshift haze, where too the absent voices dominate. As beautiful as gloomy in this industrial atmosphere subdued by the sweat of fear, this shadowless melody tries to exorcise the strength of these mechanical winds. But here we are in Panzer! And here, we run after our breath on an unbridled structure offered by a sequencer with keys jumping faster than their shadows in a cave where the air becomes rarified. Spectacular synth and guitar harmonies exchange their diabolical tunes and tear this sulphurous atmosphere trampled by the sequencer's race. A futuristic metallic chase worthy of a good sci-fi! Different Light is an atonic track where layers of synth fill a still, abstract universe.
The title-track is the longest one with its Luciferian breath making waddle a line of the sequencer. The keys have that limpid tone that one often notices in Redshift's repertoire. A bit like Halloween but in a more accelerated version. The echo of their tinkling resonates and structures an ambient veil where other keys dance on tiptoe. Somewhere between Mirage and Mark Shreeve's fabulous musical tales, Halo progresses slyly, even with its carousel of sequences that enters the mouth of its lair around the 4th minute.
The heavy chords that fall set up this chthonian vibe that increasingly encircles this hypnotic movement and carpets the floor so as to accommodate a new sequenced spiral that fades out in heavy drones 5 minutes later. Halo's sequel is a trap for virginal souls looking to flirt with darkness. Its finale extends beyond Savage Messiah, which, while not like Panzer, offers a frenetic rhythm smothered in darkness. The sequencer comes off with a brilliant rhythm line that zigzags with a devilish melody to stick on its back. It's heavy and lively, with that sequencer in Berlin School mode rippling the beat like the play of a kite under dark winds. The synth weaves beautiful harmonies that stretch out as solos while the rhythm runs like a beast with its resonant steps on a muddy ground. A good heavy electronic rhythm with a nice nod to Tangerine Dream's Statosfear. Talking about TD, Rise & Shine transports us to the sound of Rubycon. A heavy and dark atmospheric track that continues with Turbine where Redshift maintains an amphibian rhythm in an atmosphere without oxygen where voices scream as deformed as this rhythm that breaks its backbone, picking up its keys one after the other to find its fury in a diabolical and heavy electronic-rock. Leaving solidifies this presence of dark atmospheric music that surrounds HALO. The chthonian mist releases this gloomy air of a seductive organ that absent voices swallow without compensating for this mephistophelic vibe which reigns all over this last Redshift album.
HALO remains an album that has always divided me. At the beginning I didn't really like it. I probably expected more after having succumbed to the charms of Siren. Yet, most Redshift fans agree that this is the best. See how nature honors its tastes in a very singular way? HALO is a wispy album that moves with the grace of a snail with a full belly, except for Panzer and Savage Messiah. But I ended up liking it, especially after a second review. Like if music is an art that cannot be explained but is lived! The album has been sold out for quite a long time, but it is now available again in downloadable format on Redshift's Bandcamp page.
Sylvain Lupari (September 25th, 2006) ***¾**
Available at Redshift Bandcamp