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The Thrilling Retro Electronic Music of Redshift

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Emerging during the late Nineties, Redshift stunned everyone with their high-energy synthesizer music. Many musicians have sought to recapture the glory days of the Berlin School of Electronics, but few have achieved the crystalline perfection created by Redshift. Many comparisons have been made between the music of Redshift and the dazzling heyday of Tangerine Dream's most compelling releases (circa late Seventies/early Eighties), but what such comparisons fail to point out is that Redshift has done more than duplicate a classic sound--the band has succeeded in going far beyond duplication, generating tuneage that surpasses "homage" and soars to glorious new heights with fresh utilization and unique signature. The old style not only lives again, but continues to evolve in the hands of James Goddard, Rob Jenkins, Julian Shreeve, and Mark Shreeve (who comprise the line-up for Redshift).

Few modern electronic ensembles have achieved the accolades of EM enthusiasts as Redshift. And the band deserves every iota of that praise.

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REDSHIFT: Siren (CD on Distant Sun Productions)

This CD from 2002 features 66 minutes of electronic music recorded live at the Alfa Centauri Festival at Huizen in the Netherlands on April 10, 1999.

From remote cloudbanks come the resonant chords of eerie electronics, swelling from minimalism to produce demonstratively rhythmic melodies that spark life into bored souls. Complex sequencing achieves a dynamic and surging pastiche that tickles the forebrain with enticing riffs. Flutish tones mix with atmospheric keyboards, punctuated by stringent riffs that strive for further heights, breaking through the stratosphere to undulate and glisten in an airless darkness.

Cycles of massive charm are generated with relentless passion, enhanced by nimble-fingered keyboards and harnessed into vibrant harmonies. The crystalline nature of this music sparkles with a life that is greater than its individual notes, expanding to cosmic proportions inside the heads of the audience. Elastic riffs emerge with surprising frequency, bringing satisfied smiles to even the most jaded fans of electronic music.

The presence of space guitar (whether achieved naturally or via analog trickery) caps it all so very nicely, delivering breathless pinnacles and ecstatic rushes of momentous impact.

Very little percussion is employed in this music, ample rhythms being established by the frenzied pace of keyboard strikes. These sinuous tempos suit the fluid nature of the music, complimenting the rapid-fire dose of sequenced chords and heavenly riffs that swim in the air like a flurry of angelic presences.

Redshift's melodies are lively and thrilling, thoroughly exciting in their modern application of old school sounds, producing neoteric tuneage in a retro style that is so emphatically loved by EM enthusiasts. It is sad that the band's output is so infrequent, for Redshift definitely excel at achieving this favored sound.

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REDSHIFT: Halo (CD on Distant Sun Productions)

This CD from 2002 offers 58 minutes of splendid electronic music recorded in the studio.

Florid keyboards rise into lavish sequences that stir deep layers of the human psyche with their elegant chords. Riffs ricochet from cranial wall to wall, piercing the cerebellum with their evocative melodies. Apparent repetition hides a slowbuilding evolution that gradually tickles the forebrain with nostalgic sonic patterns, familiar yet fresh, idealistic but modernly tempered. The result is tuneage that strives after constantly higher altitudes, blazing with emotional pinnacles and dreamy passages.

A passive stretch leads to more strenuous harmonies as the electronics gather force and coalesce into demonstrative riffs. Keyboard patterns emerge to act as rhythmics, bolstering the flowing music to more energetic demeanor. Space guitar enhances this elevation with fiery strokes and wailings that glisten with cosmic fury. Deeper bass-tones embellish the mix with a firm undercurrent of rumbling power. Fanciful electronics inject an otherworldliness to the melodies, simulating astral anomalies and the sparkle of infant suns shrouded by the seething gas of distant nebulas.

Discerning EM enthusiasts will quickly identify this music as deeply rooted in the influences of early Tangerine Dream. Indeed, more than just influenced, Redshift actively strive to produce their music in this nostalgic style--a mode that has become immensely popular in contemporary electronic music circles. Of the many who endeavor to follow this sonic course, few bands succeed with such zest or vigor as Redshift. Their music does more than simulate this classic Berlin School style, they further it with inventive application and arousing creativity.

Shorn of all the roots, influences and execution, these basic melodies are stimulating and memorable. Pleasant melodies lead to inspirational crescendos that are rich with breathtaking moments and mesmerizing transitions. This strong compositional sensibility makes Redshift an EM force to contend with, a band who will survive the ages and be emulated by future generations who seek to perpetuate the grand style of powerful electronic music.

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