Thursday, 25 July 2019

Shift - Altamont Rising

Shift – Altamont Rising – CD/Vinyl – 2014 – Cold SpringUnrest Productions - CSR195CD - unprlp04.   

Sometimes the third sense that you must buy an album is there in the back of your head nagging away. I was asking questions about Altamont Rising way before I finally bought it this year. From my previous Shift review of Abandon, I decided I’d already decided that I really liked the project, for me it became a benchmark to low end Industrial/PE by which I judge all others. But still, in the back of my head this album called to me. This year I finally got to see S.T.A.B. play live with Iron Fist of the Sun and Active Denial, I was thrilled with the performances and there staring at me was the cd of Altamont Rising on the Merch Desk, I bought that and the new S.T.A.B. lp and the next day got the train home, impatient to hear my newly acquired albums.

I have very Bipolar feelings towards Unrest, and this ensures that I keep going back. The murky, shifting grey midground the label occupies makes it something ‘other’ than the usual samey, extremey crap that is around. So, while I am on a high, I will review this cd that I so had to buy. I know it isn’t the latest Shift, but I like to look backwards and forwards simultaneously.

This album is way choppier and livelier than Abandon, it’s a thrives in a choppy vortex of noise, the vocals seem to exist at the core of the work; a distorted shouting that seems relentless. This is a diatribe of rage that is presented via different methods across the album. I can say I immediately like this more; I’d consider it on Par with the best Unrest vocal performances that I have heard such as S.T.A.B. and Iron Fist of the Sun. The presence of Winston Smith is nightmarish and as per usual; the mind is a terrible thing to taste. It’s done differently to the later Abandon, which marks good development and variety in how the work is presented.

There’s a very good use of wall noise, it’s done in a choppy, less dense way so the drops aren’t overly dramatic, and sound can breathe – samples and vocals can move into the whole without being drowned out. Due to this, samples and vocals are audible, not abstracted so that you don’t have to gauge them via the mood of the work. When big synths make an entrance, it’s exciting – Big Synths really do it for me these days, so I apologise if this pops up in most reviews.

Whilst listening to this I am aware that I have heard two extreme ends of Shift, I own two very different and equally effective albums. I conclude this is a great album, it has been on my playlist for months. But the questions stay with me; have I experienced the full depth of Shift; does it go elsewhere on other albums? I must find out over time.

Choppy Noodles 2019.

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