Shift : Bulk

Shift : BulkSilken TofuUnrest Productions : 2009
Format : CD

My only previous encounter with this UK Power Electronic outfit was 2006s “Unable To Abide The Silence Of The World”. While I thought that album fantastic and gave it a permanent home on my IPod, the latest from Martin blows it completely out of the water. Where “Abide” was more subtle, a quite menace, “Bulk” is pure aggression and a straight ahead attack. This disc is a joint release from Martin’s own Unrest label and the Belgian Silken Tofu label.

The album begins with the title track as hypnotic, blow-out synth rumbles fill the speakers threatening to shred my cones to pieces. This is one of those releases you can tell from the first note that needs to be LOUD. Hefty, low-end static that could be distorted vocals or some other sound source cycles over the synth while some distant groan ambles in and out like a steel girder reaching its weight limit. Imagine Sunn0))) with synths instead of guitars…and some balls. Twelve and a half knee-weakening minutes later and I’m blasted with the pure Wall crunch of ‘Head’. This slowly dissipates into crisper, cleaner blasts of static noise that could be a contact mic dragged behind a speeding ½ ton truck over the interstate. It reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad had an old Ford Fairlane that the floor panels had rusted out on. There was a hole you could see the street through and I would lay down in the seat, staring at that hole and listening to the sound of the street hissing up at me. It’s a good ride. Closing out the disc is ‘Bulk II’, a reprise of sorts of the title track, but with a cleaner sound to the synth, but still just as ominous and suffocating as before. It’s the sound of being torpedoed into a black hole. Senses are ripped apart and reassembled. It’s Skoll and Hati swallowing the sun and moon.

“Bulk” is a rawer, meaner and stripped down version of Shift than I had previously encountered, and one worthy of your attention. The disc comes housed in a standard jewel case, with the back cover and three inserts all showing various angles of the now demolished Trincorn Center in Hampshire, England. Each insert has a spot-gloss printing on the project logo. Beautiful.

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