Subtle Shift Somber Frequencies (2022)
“For those who like the Ambient Dub or want to learn about it”
1 Sojourn 8:59
2 Organic Manifestation 9:02
3 Sunlit Depths 8:05
4 As Clouds Move Inland 9:17
5 Voyage 5:35
6 Forsta Sno (1st Snow) 6:53
(CD(r)/DDL 47:53) (V.F.)
What's going on in the realm of Harmonic Resonance Recordings? Of Alpha Wave Movement? Well, it's been pretty quiet since the Infinite Realms album in 2021. And even then, Gregory Kyryluk offered us a rather quiet album built on ambient rhythmic structures. The American musician-synthesist does it again with this new effort that he proposes this time under the name of Subtle Shift, a parallel project to the one of AWM which aims to offer Ambient Dub style music. Subtle Shift has been the new name of Within Reason since 2017, the year Gregory Kyryluk picked up the entire 4-release catalog of this Techno Dub project. SOMBER FREQUENCIES is thus the 5th album of this project and offers nearly 48 minutes of an EM focused on the slow movements of Dub, that sub-genre initiated from reggae in the mid 80's, in a texture of drones that gives a darker, more nebulous touch to the music of this Gregory Kyryluk latest offering.
Waves of sound swaying from ear to ear form hoops that clatter slightly as Sojourn opens. Percussive sonic drops and muted pulses solidify a vertical rhythmic vision whose acceleration makes these hoops twirl. Keys land on the rhythmic floor with a bouncing effect, structuring a soft, evasive melody that runs through our heads while our feet, like those chords, dance without really touching the ground. Synth lines adorn this psychedelic-futuristic setting with iridescent laments, adding an ethereal touch to a rhythm that accentuates its passive velocity after the 4th minute. Atmospheric textures with the colors of supernatural spirographs, the ambiences chosen by Gregory Kyryluk are the main inciting elements to the discovery of a universe which flirts with an electronic music (EM) with para-psychedelic ambiences. If Sojourn makes its rhythm float on the spot, Organic Manifestation is more frisky, within the limits imposed by the style, with a continuous shaking effect that weaves a pleasant up-tempo split by its stroboscopic texture. The pulsing bass-line resonates while the sequences that form the second membrane of the rhythm gambol and stagger in a way that desynchronizes a rhythm that likes to flirt with its atmospheric phases. Keyboard chords that melt and restructure into wispy hoops and unctuous synth layers, divided between sibylline and cosmic visions, add a sonic depth that at times slows the dynamism of the rhythmic pulse. The ambient opening of Sunlit Depths deliciously transports me to my memories of Sneaker Pimp, Becoming X album, before the rhythm bursts forth on a solid mesh of muted pulses and percussive rattlings. This rhythm runs, stops and starts again under a keyboard line that weaves a rhythmic melody forged in the pace of a faucet and its drops escaping in a random flow. The power of ambient Dub!
After a slow opening of aerospace ambiences, consisting of drones, ochre breaths and hollow breezes, As Clouds Move Inland ends this atmospheric suspense with a bouncing rhythm line and the rubbery effect of its bounces. The rhythm is quite catchy with this vision where our feet are always brushing the ground, so much the envelope of ambient Dub carries it well. The title is coated by unctuous synth layers that are more orchestral. Pearls of sounds leaking like solidified drops of water are among the percussive artifices of this title of which the distant ambiences project us towards a horizon with a view on the sea. Built on the principle of rotations around our ears, the rhythm of Voyage is the livelier, even violent, of this SOMBER FREQUENCIES. The pulsing bass-line has these elastic bounces and is dock with sober electronic percussions while a rhythm line extends its stroboscopic power that whips the rhythmic energy even more. The ambient elements and the setting of the track is the closest thing to the works of Alpha Wave Movement. I would write the same for Forsta Sno (1st Snow) which ends SOMBER FREQUENCIES with a nice cosmic slow dance wrapped up in the elements of AWM. The title turns into a beautiful lunar ballad with synth waves that have the gift to move us. It's like hearing Steve Roach in another dimension! For those who like the style or want to learn about ambient dub. I found it good, and that the music of Subtle Shift flowed pleasantly between the ears while arousing aural curiosity.
Sylvain Lupari (October 26th, 2022) ***½**
Available at HRR Bandcamp
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