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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

REDSHIFT: Turning Towards Us (2008)

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

There are mind-blowing moments in this album which reaches new levels of emotivity

1 The Love of Nature 13:40

2 The Last Thing We See 2:41

3 Clan 13:14

4 Happy Hour 2:43

5 Turning Towards Us 22:47

(DDL 54:59) (V.F.)

(Berlin & England School)

Redshift's last studio album was Oblivion in 2004. Last, recorded at Hampshire Jam 5 in 2006 was the last live performance of the English band and the title was slightly confusing; was it the last Redshift album? It was more like a change of direction. Like a big snake, Redshift was changing its skin. For a start, the entire TURNING TOWARDS US was written and performed by Mark Shreeve alone. Secondly, the cover is different and doesn't mention Redshift at all, unlike the other albums of the band. Sound-wise, there are elements of white noise and distortion that are more present. Fear not, Redshift like Mark Shreeve still have that appetite for big, powerful, slow, heavy beats. The dull hammering that used to make our souls shiver will always be present and even after Last.

It is in the opening of The Love of Nature which pulses in a maelstrom of sound effects always as colourful. A new approach? Not really! One does not take Redshift out of Redshift. So The Love of Nature wavers on heavy drones with sound effects still unique to the one-man band's signature now. A menacing shadow hovers over the music, like a chain dragging on the sidewalks. Heavy pulses and its echo! The ambience is darker than ever. The cymbals come and bang! Big drums on a heavy rhythm with a synth and its solos like a guitar. Heavy and dark electronic rock that goes underground in a floating, gloomy finale as Redshift got us used to. The Last Thing we See, just like Happy Hour, proposes an ethereal and strangely serene context for Redshift with a fluty passage a bit like the mellotron of Tangerine Dream from the 70's. Clan is heavy! But of a dull heaviness à la King Crimson, with superb solos which tear a dense and dark sound mass. A structure which makes alternate its rhythms on passages sometimes innocent and sometimes without pity for the ears. The dark embracing the candid. There are superb passages where a guitar spits infernal riffs on a violent synth and cascading sequences. The ears hardly manage to identify all this sound broth which scatters its heaviness through brief softer passages. This is one heck of a track!

A big heavy track like Turning Toward Us which starts in the purest Redshift tradition. An atmospheric opening heavy of its whistling breezes on a long 5 minutes. In these heavy and threatening winds, screaming like metal in pain, Mark Shreeve lets filter these hums at the same time dark and angelic which decorate his Machiavellian ambiences. Delicate crystalline arpeggios are entwined in a sequenced ritornello to create these virginal melodies that serve as sheep to the sordid ambiences à la Halloween. The cradle of the ambiences and influences of the English musician. These arpeggios get agitated and excited under weak passing gusts, to become a sequence of circular sustained rhythm which advances in a heavy England School. The limpidity of the sequenced arpeggios play on the nuances of a structure whose vivacity borrows a passage where the synth extends its black coat, and the bass of the Moog refines its roars. These elements lead Turning Toward Us towards a heavy and furious rhythm slowed down by the whims of the Moog and its resonant steps where a succulent Arabic melody extends. And, after flirting with insanity, this long track builds to a finale that defends its dark lair with all the panache of Mark Shreeve. A bit of a long finale, but 2/3 of the title is well worth it!

A new Redshift vision because Mark Shreeve is all alone in the adventure? Not at all! Even if I detected some progressive ways of doing the music, TURNING TOWARDS US is as pure a Redshift as Mark Shreeve can be true to himself. There are mind-blowing moments in this album which reaches new levels of emotivity in a music where there were always room for this.

Sylvain Lupari (February 7th, 2009) ****½*

Available at Redshift Bandcamp

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