Midnight Shift and Voitax Records
Two Label Collaboration
TBR: 27th January
As a mark of respect to each other's journey through sound, Midnight Shift and Voitax prepare a tag-team of talent that spans fifteen exclusive tracks. Matching like for like with music composers and formulating unique sounds that lean in both directions, these offerings are perhaps a doorway to one more avenue of electronica that men, women, and children can walk. We can draw the map as they go. By utilising the skills of thirty international label artists to build fifteen individual tracks, this three vinyl release ticks more boxes than we can think of.
Frantic tribal like drum-beats open the record. Vibrating tin and wood percussive notches build a reverberating swell of sound. Sonic sprinkles flavour the build-up with shifting tones before a change in the drumming elevates the energy once more. Hand-drums with skilful flow push a spiralling sonar of synthesiser into the air. This pushes on until it reaches a plateaux where a flat line of intensity follows. Akita from Hodge and Nico transcends into a formidable atmosphere that's peppered with heavy drums and kinetic sounds.
Warmly distorted rhythms open for the next number, Invia and Masha Motive reveal Transfigured. Psychedelic tones shift and shine before a drum and bass style beat surges forward. Wavery glistens of synthesiser streak along the reverberating edges as persistent and high energy drums continue to bash and dig out a trench in the groove. Shifting drum patterns in the breaks give way to a new flavour of tone that whistles in a low key. Astral visions beckon from behind the strange yet accessible music.
Next we are treated to a breathing continual tone which spirals around popping and tapping beats. A vocal like input wafts in with no apparent words, before exploratory drums build the track further. These give a landing ground for a heavy and rumbling bass which drills regular fence-posts into the footpath of sound. Dripping bass drums are added which contrast with high pitched drops like teaspoon on saucer. More abstract vocals are unravelled, maybe there are words in there however after the digital processing into a unique instrument, the lines are lost. Radharc by Arad and Rory St. John is a deep and dreamy throb into mysterious realms of heavy sound.
We visit Cyan85 and Paco Pack now who provide us with 4 ma C-Borgs. It begins with a stabby snare and hat rhythm that's propped up by a wholesome kick-drum. Springy beats then join the party as melodic swirls of tone wobble and shake on the bar. A voice with deep elocution speaks individual and repeating lines across the ever shifting underlay of quick rhythms. Then, a synth which carries the melody into higher realms brings a new level of energy. Something disappears in the background and as the bridge of sound flows up and over the precipice it fins the bass end once more to allow the motorway of madness to flow gently on.
Scattered beats unwrap this next number. High end attack with shakers and snare merge with wooden taps and fizz. A chime begins to penetrate the wall of percussion. Like a repeating mechanical bell sequence, a motif of melody rises from the depths. It culminates in an amplifying swell that's joined by an elastic stretch tone which assists in the elevation to the second gear. Drums and bass play along together with a catchy melody, rhythm matching tone in a hard-hitting medley. Ethnic vibrato strings then add one more layer of personality to the mix. Have you heard of Spiral Galaxies with 2 Cores? Jamal Moss and KiNK have, and they named this track after them.
Pattern Confrontation is next, from Sorcery and Xhin. Spacious rhythms span out alongside strange throaty tones which vibrate like large sheets of metal in the distance. It barks like a didgeridoo and soon is accompanied by more sliding and strange shifting tones. Like a pattern of car-skids and blaring simulated radio chatter, the background sounds burst and roar with digital emulations of pressure. Slower tones join the flow to reveal another dimension to the track. As the quick and powerful drums carry on with their trance-like pounding, another layer slowly drifts in motions of tempered intentions.
A smashing sound breaks open the brief silence to reveal the new mix. Staggering sonics swell and dissipate within building spaces filled with echoes and percussive strikes. A jamboree of drumming breaks bar after bar with invigorated and high-energy patterns. The dynamic allows for a continual motion from various rhythms which bounce from one another among rapid electronica beats of sound. A full on wall of drumming filled with various textures is painted with abstract and kinetic sounds that could have originated in the jungle. ABSL and Simo Cell bring us Put Less. It does have a minimalist sense to it, with drums being the predominant force.
A huge bass rhythm starts the next track. A super-fast tempo with twanging low beats and ticking pops is matched by a synth which plunges in and out of the stereo from side to side. A rhythmic sledge of hardcore and electro barrages the floor with layer upon layer of fast-moving beats. A break gives way to strange vocal-like elements that throat and reverberate in the emptiness. Then, the full stack of rhythm is unleashed again, bringing the energy back to the boil. The Event Horizon is a dynamic and high energy place, it's also the name of this track by Paal and Umwelt.
Kyoka is next and Sorcery is back for another go. This pairing have created Polyprism. It opens with a huge wail of ambient sounds like the trains moving in adjacent tunnels. A beat is brought in, snare and cymbal rattle along a steady bass as a voice speaks across in whispered words. The sounds combine to begin a looping collage of variant sounds. A full-on mix that includes too many aspects to count doses us with a multifaceted adventure into chaos.
The next is less in-your-face. It has a snappy electro rhythm which gives way to spinning sounds and scratchings that push in and out of the room-size. A melodic slow moving train of sound rattles beneath high energy drums and electronic bass-lines. This one has real groove and when given the space, it begins to seep with melody and bass which crawl all over each other. Seventh Continent from Esker and Swarm Intelligence seems to use retro elements to delve into deep and mindful rhythms.
Karabash from Brenecki and Kamikaze Space Program has an industrial feel. Twanging metal-work and rhythms made by analogue machines spurn through the misty vapours left behind by disparate synthesiser. Echo rich percussive sounds repeat in a measured formula as various punchy drum-fills spread their rhythms into the mix. A slender composition snakes through twists of direction as sounds creep in shadows cast by tall and powerful beats.
Next, a deep and glistening tone shines in from all sides. Drums are added, slow and hypnotic beats tread soft steps through a garden of synthesised melody. Strange angles of tonality with shifting inflections and harmonics begin to grow and intensify as more and more sound flows into the mouth of the river. Distorted beats chunter in the background even as the main rhythm section disappears in the fog of distortion. They return after a few bars with more organic tonks on hand operated percussion instruments. L/F/D/M and Veronica Maximova give us Obsolete Vernacular.
We visit the world of Cressida and Makaton to witness Pirates. A bouncy rhythm with tubular dimensions thrusts a quick dancing tempo down. A sneaky hat rhythm tops the layering before solitary notes strike out with harmonised qualities. Abstract sound creations grow and evolve before our ears in strange and cinematic skewers of hand-picked waveforms. Then, a familiar sample breaks open a distinctive energy before the track swivels on its axis and changes direction. The initial drum-flow remains but now the pitch seems to be tethered to a new scale.
A strange space-age spiral sound grows from silence before the rhythm breaks in with a jittery bass drum. Loops and repeating phrases mingle and churn together with high reverb spacing out the sounds. Like footsteps with an awkward gate, the drums move on until something happens. A singular tone breaks free like an old telephone when someone's hung up. Eventually we acknowledge the end of the call and we replace the receiver. Maybe we'd been waiting for that call for days. The tone begins again, and this time a distorted string blazes out in unison, all but briefly. Don't DJ and Harmonious Thelonious give us the dreamy Hambi.
This final number is named after all of you. Superfans by Florian Kupfer and Innsyster winds down the album with something a little slower. Birdsong and sensual beats walk around jungle static and shaking percussion. Ethnic and mysterious additions strike various stringed notes. These lean in and out of earshot as various delicate elements are projected, one at a time. A heartbeat like drum clambers along the mountainside as we drift from the intense and moving sections of this album to this closing chapter.
You can follow Midnight Shift on Soundcloud
and on their Website
You can follow Voitax Records on Soundcloud
and on their Website
Rowan Blair Colver for The Electro Review.