Review Summary: Grimy yet Satisfying
Say techno and, Detroit aside, the first word that springs to mind is Berlin. From four on the floor club bangers to creeping minimal, the noises emanating from these dark German suburbs are the sinuous syllables that surge invisibly from burning circuits; an endless and infinite myriad of sounds.
Therefore it comes as no surprise that Shed’s sophomore effort is a patchwork of sorts; a musical melting pot planted squarely on the concrete floor of the Bergheim. It’s a dirty soup of Scuba and Monolake that is a compelling listen, yet never quite becomes the sum of its parts.
was to Berlin what Untrue
was to London; the perfect soundtrack to murky streets and dark thoughts. Silence
was gorgeously indecipherable, like a somnolent volcano glimpsed through a thick canopy of leaves; the burning heart at the centre of long forgotten spaces. The Traveller
, on the other hand, remains firmly entrenched in the shadowy recesses of clubs, stepping out only occasionally to take a drag on a slowly burning cigarette and stare with glazed eyes at the cracked obsidian sky. The former effortlessly scaled shadowy heights; Shed brushes them with icy fingertips, agonizingly close to steaming pools and lush aural vegetation.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to be disparaging about a techno album that’s this diverse; it is an excellent example of what can be done with the extensive palette of electronic sounds that oscillate through clubs today. Coiling basslines wrap themselves around pounding kick drums, resonating briefly before fading into slivers of dub that cascade lightly onto a buzzing landscape of dark sine waves. Synths flash out of the gloom like lighthouses on a starless night, leading the shadowy ships of sound to harbour.
Yet there always seems to be something lacking, whether it be a more rewarding conclusion to a track or an idea that could be developed further rather than discarded. There’s potential by the gallon; unfortunately it remains partially unfulfilled.
Shed is not so much standing on the shoulders of giants as tiptoeing around them, brushing against them lightly in the hope of snatching the echoes emanating from their bottomless pockets, and at times he effortlessly succeeds. At others, he needs to brush up on his pick pocketing skills.
Whilst The Traveller
is a strong and often pleasing effort, in the end it boils down to little more than a grimy yet strangely satisfying dish straight from the pitch black troughs of Berlin.