Monday, 17 September 2012
Review: Shed - The Killer
As someone free of Shed-knowledge, this album should sound fresh to me. And it does. I've heard Shed's sound described as "crunchy", "bathometric" and so on, which makes sense. Funnily, the record I'm most reminded of when listening is Leftfield's 1999 album Rhythm & Stealth, which featured similar thunderous genre-bending techno material. The ambient timbres on opener STP3/The Killer also remind me of Snakeblood, Leftfield's contribution to the soundtrack of Danny Boyle's The Beach. Have a listen for yourself on Youtube and decide if you think I'm chatting total horseshit or not. Also, I've just noticed that the cover art is vaguely reminiscent of the iconic woofer from the cover of Leftism, albeit without those famous shark teeth.
Anyway, near as I can work out, Shed specialises in well-engineered, booming and somewhat experimental techno, unorthodox in construction but still feeling heavy enough for a dancefloor. He likes breakbeats and odd spoken vocal loops, and occasionally he dips into UK-future-post-step influences, as is the law these days if you want Resident Advisor to pay attention to your release.
But while I respect the individual sound of his music (even if other reviews suggest he's content to repeat much of it), little to nothing about this album honestly stimulated me very much. There's a sterility about most of these tracks - they all have some memorable loop or element or somesuch, but none of these earworms are particularly things I want stuck in my head. I always hate saying things like this, but I honestly struggle to imagine anyone getting any kind of strong emotional reaction out of these tracks, and while they certainly have a warehouse-ready heaviness to their sound design there's none of the genuine sweat-dripping energy or rave spirit of '90s techno. I can respect what Shed does here, but I honestly can't get remotely excited about it. I'll stick to my Leftfield, I guess.
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 6/10