Review Summary: Impressing Surpassing PerfectingFreezing Opening Thawing
is the latest 12” release from the legendary and ever-surprising Shackleton, whose silence in 2013 was apparently due to a harnessing of his creative energy to build this lesson in controlled chaos. Stuffed to the brim with bombastic, layered melodies and rhythmic complexities, the 3-track EP is a pure shot of adrenaline right out of the gates. Rather than creating density with the lingering drones of the producer’s more tribal, ritualistic output from the past, the staccato nature of the psychedelic synth-work only plays more into the chaotic, polyrhythmic aspect of the percussion. The focus is often drawn towards a central, stripped down synth-line that stands out among the surrounding pandemonium, but never hangs around long enough to overstay its welcome.
The opener and title track capitalizes most on the ideas at play here. Building from start to finish and covering more ground than should be possible in its duration, it’s an 11-minute high-speed journey full of twists, turns, surprises, and returns to old motifs forgotten among the fray. It sets a colossal precedent for what can be accomplished under Shackleton’s controlled precision, which never falters through the rest of the EP. “White Flower with Silvery Eye” has a much more focused narrative, with a vocal sample that weaves in and out among the cascading basslines and synth leads that bounce all over the place, both melodically and physically, dancing around the wide stereophonics with an upbeat exuberance and charm. Closer “Silver Keys” is the closest Shackleton comes to the dark omininity that much of his work is known for. Though it doesn’t distance itself much from the patterns of the surrounding tracks, there’s an omnipresent, somber gloom in the air, but not one thick enough to block out the shimmering of the colorful refractions of light that cut through the air, and Shackleton never reigns in the pistoning force of the percussive current that drives Freezing Opening Thawing
Shackleton is arguably one of those producers whose output should never be passed up on, but Freezing Opening Thawing
deserves special mention. In addition to being some of the best work from the producer’s extensive and impressive catalog, its brighter nature will appeal to many who don’t relish in his trademark darkness. It may be early in 2014, but it’s already easy to envision Shackleton rightfully placed among the year’s best.