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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

REDSHIFT: Toll (2006)

Toll is a monument that can be savored with all the respect we owe to the greatest

1 Stuka 18:02 2 Cast Down 6:25 3 Glide 12:58 4 Rock 6:11 5 Toll 20:44

(DDL 64:23) (V.F.)

(England & Berlin School)

After Rob Jenkins' departure, many fans, myself included, wondered how Redshift would react. After all, he was an important part of the English quartet. His guitar, his modular Moog and his sequencer supported Mark Shreeve's improvisations very well. We were able to feel a complicity and his importance in the band grow from album to album. His departure on Oblivion was filled by none other than Ian Boddy. But for TOLL, recorded at the 2004 E-Live Festival, both Ian Boddy and Rob Jenkins were absent, leaving the trio of James Goddard, Julian and Mark Shreeve to perform the music of Redshift. Let's go listen and enjoy this other CD recorded live, there where Redshift excels!

On a long sinuous and polyrhythmic movement, Stuka is bursting with intensity and starts this concert recording in the purest Redshift tradition. An owl's song mixes with a rush of heavy, wispy winds, stimulating a dark and heavy atmosphere. Not even 60 seconds have passed when a pulse resounds on the dusty whistles of this metallic wind from which emerge also notes from an electric piano. Dark pulsations and piano notes dance and feed the extremes of a dark procession where even the mellotron makes its flute sing divinely. This procession is tenebrous, stormy before the sequencer accelerates the cadence with fat and resonant keys that a synth layer full of radioactive noises bewitches just before Stuka decides to release the density of its ambiences by a simply infernal rhythm that beats the measure, with brief less intense phases, on a distance of 8 minutes. Slowed down, the rhythm nevertheless pursues a floating gait with an elasticity effect. Like pulsating suckers climbing a curve, it squabbles with its ambiences and continues its crazy incendiary ride under not always welcoming synth layers and clouds of psychedelic metal dust. It will slow down with the contact of the piano chords which flutter among other scattered notes in a finale wrapped in explosive synth layers. Cast Down feeds off Stuka's last breaths which are sucked in by a dull rumble. A line of limpid arpeggios swirls over a piano lost in the middle of these intimidating organ layers and motley sound effects. And it is under this arsenal composed of a chthonian choir and a mellotron with spectral breaths that Cast Down knocks at the doors of Glide. A nimble piano dances and infuses a serpentine motion of melodious and crystalline notes that waddles innocently over a hallucinatory swirling sequence. This structure comes to life with a good bass line and sparse notes that flutter behind a good mellotron with the air of a silky harmonious flute, contrasting on the sequenced heaviness that makes Glide roll. We are not at the end of our surprises when a cloud of violin joins this fiery rhythm, letting escape the guides of the sequencer that already bit in the opening of Glide. A great track that joins the classics of the Redshift repertoire. To date, this TOLL is excellent!

It's on the last echoes of Glide's drones that Rock begins. A reverberation remains suspended like a neon twisting to shed its light, giving the illusion of a strange sinister effect. A bit like a floating industrial rhythm. A weak pulse circulates in a quiet environment, like in an industrial cemetery. In this lost universe, the synth breaths have steely sounds that are measured against spectral murmurs of choirs over variegated background noises. Only precipitated palpitations escape, crumbling whispers that feed the first mechanical clanking of the mega title-track. A long 20-minute track, Toll has a slow start embedded in the industrial effects of Glide. The hissing sounds turn into metallic loops that take on an undulating form. A strange and slow rhythm develops muffled by a hesitant sequencer. In fact, everything is oscillating in the first part of Toll. But when the big Moog gets in, we grasp the nuance in its movements and the music develops with force on virtual guitar riffs and an undulating sequencer on a heavy and jerky structure which pulses with heaviness all the remaining energy of the sequencer. An intense and gripping track that deserves its hearty applause.

TOLL goes beyond Oblivion! Redshift pushes its introspection even further by giving a soul to a form of industrial music that I usually find cold and abstract. The English trio is solitary in its metallic world where its darkness embraces its excess. But behind these embraces of metal on metal, Redshift forges superb melodious moments that catch, surprise and seduce. TOLL is an England School monument that can be savored with all the respect we owe to the greatest masters.

Sylvain Lupari (October 13th, 2006) ****½*

Available at Redshift Bandcamp

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