Redshift II - Ether
I’ve listened to electronic music albums for more years than I care to remember, and in the time between acne and relatively slight but noticeable greying hair the number of EM albums must rank in the thousands. Having of course helped to organise the concert at which large parts of this album were recorded I knew it was going to be one of the great albums, but as I write this review the question I am tussling with asks "is this the greatest of them all?" Before I elaborate, let’s briefly outline what we have here. Two of the four tracks (‘A Midnight Clear’ and ‘Ether’), comprising over 50 minutes of the album, were recorded at the Jodrell Bank Concert on 7.12.96. One of the tracks, 'Bombers in the Desert’, is a studio interpretation of another piece performed on the night. ‘Static’ is a short studio outing. Stylistically the music could be termed "classic 70’s Berlin School". Three of the four musicians create the rich textural atmospherics and thematics, while Mark Shreeve provides the ever shifting tapestry of sequencing on the colossal Moog modular. OK, so what makes this album so good? Well, I’ve often been quoted as saying that classic 70’s EM was abandoned far too prematurely and there was lots more to be discovered.
This album goes further than perhaps any I’ve heard to push back the boundaries of this style. As a package it is nigh on faultless, with plenty of dark mellotron and synth thematics to savour and the added ingredient of guitar effects played to perfection. But the trump card is the sequencing. In terms of sequencing it is quite simply the best example of its kind I have ever heard. The rampant dynamics of the Moog are harnessed in spectacular fashion, and the complexity and variety of the sequencing is simply breathtaking. Every angle in the book is covered, and whole new sections are written on the fly. Sequence riffs barely stay still for a second. You think it can’t get any better, then the bass lines hit home. It’s like a thundering roller coaster. A wall of sound which, to me, says everything about why EM can affect me like no other music. On ‘Bombers..’ a drum loop is thrown in for good measure - take care, this track could signal a China Syndrome for your speakers. I think it was the "review of ‘96" article where I said Redshift’s music was so far up my street that it was sitting in my living room with its feet up watching TV. Well, ‘Ether’ is actually wearing my slippers, drinking tea and eating biccies! Seriously though, I consider this album a pinnacle in sequencing terms and it has all the supplementary decorations to make it an outstanding all round package. So, the greatest? I would say...
Graham Getty - used with permissionwww.synthmusicdirect.com