Redshift VI - Faultline
Most comment I've seen so far about this release is the fact that it breaks the trend of using album titles which spell out "REDSHIFT". Who gives a stuff?!! The main thing is that this is another Redshift album, 'nuff said for me!
And moreover, it's not just any old album. It's a record of their amazing performance at Hampshire Jam 2 on the 9th November 2002. Gobsmacking is the only way to describe the performance, a barrage of raw mutating power which I'd probably never witnessed before at such close quarter.
Opening with the title track, the slow brooding pulsations slowly marshal themselves into an insistent rhythm, adorned with sensational effects and amazing guitar detail. The Moog sounds menacing and other-worldly. Sequentially it continues along the "Node"-style path, edgy, atonal in places, but it's still a complex and ever shifting beast which mesmerises and delights. Latterly the oscillators sound over-driven, distorted and barely under control emphasising the untamed nature. Then it descends into the swamp, leaving a heart-beat type throb which is soon over-run by busy effects.
'Chrysolite' takes over seamlessly, more "brill" effects then a lighter air takes over almost like a sunrise, shafts of light piercing mist over a doom laden swamp. 'Pyro_gen' heralds the trickling pulsations as they weave another complex opening pattern, you can tell the dampers are firmly locked on as the machinery starts at 2% of capacity then increases into the low teens. This latent power is the perfect foil for some luscious pads, woven with expertise as the sound gets denser. Power rises into the 20's then 30's and the complexity and variation of the sequencing is awesome. At the 5 min mark the power is allowed to hit half way as all ephemera scurries for cover, the sequential torrent is now scouring the landscape like a pyroplastic flow. Yet this time it seems effortless, controlled, and restrained as mellotron-style flute appears to carve detail into the hardening lava tube. The sequences develop and shift in brilliant fashion as the sound ebbs and flows. Totally awesome.
'Aquamarine' provides a much needed breather with subtle atmospherics featuring electric piano and a whole host of other detail. 'Quenzer' opens with deliberate sequencing which gradually builds in complexity. It hits a groove at the 2˝ minute mark and the synth pads add more lustre as the sequencing fades in and out, ever present but regularly breaking loose in a vicious backlash. At the halfway mark superb guitar breaks through creating an amazing mixture as the sequencing squirms in ever changing mutation.
Enthusiastic applause heralds the final 20 minute track 'Praetorian' and what a stunning opening with piercing synth lines fading into a wall of choral magnificence. The moog then crushes its way into the set as guitar and synths go into a frenzy. The measured sequence gathers complexity just after the mid point and we're carried on a wave of titanic pulsations to the close.
Yet again Moogtastic sequencing takes centre stage here but the other elements, from superb synths and effects to amazing guitar work, add much to the equation. Having digested much of the Tangerine Tree lately it's an interesting comparison to make here. Some may argue that comparing TD's 120+ concerts during '74 to '77 with Redshift's half a dozen or so since '96 is a futile exercise. However, though TD produced sections of brilliance aplenty, they also produced a fair amount of padding where they seemed to be basically finding their way. Whereas Redshift leave the padding to the rehearsal room and produce events of concentrated perfection. And if you count official live releases from the era, TD have 'Ricochet', 'Encore' and you could argue about 'Soundmill'. 'Redshift' have 'Ether', 'Siren' and now 'Faultline'. Though TD's live legacy is an amazing and unsurpassed feat, the way Redshift are going they may end up producing a similarly impressive legacy in far fewer outings.
Graham Getty - used with permissionwww.synthmusicdirect.com