After a prolific year of releases, including April’s stellar Crossed Paths, Shifted’s last release of 2012 sees him returning once again to Luke Slater’s Mote-Evolver imprint for four slabs of punishing granite edged techno. Throughout the twenty or so minutes that make up Razors the listener is plunged into a unforgiving sonic landscape that distorts and fizzes, the scuffed kickdrum acting as a lone anchor in stark contrast to the mayhem of the syncopated noise.
Razors is not markedly different from Shifted’s previous output yet rather than this being to the EP’s detriment, it’s in fact the reassuringly familiar hallmarks of his productions that make this record stand head and shoulders above the current crop of releases that attempt to emulate pulsating German techno refracted through the industrialised Birmingham sound of the 1990’s. By welding the disparate ambient and industrial elements in the tracks with the relentless grind of the drum machines, Shifted manages to craft a record that is both unsettling and stimulating, without falling victim to abstraction or dull monotony - despite its repetition, all which is testament to his talent as a producer. Like Marcel Dettmann’s Iso release on Ostgut Ton, Razors’s sonic palette is grey, stripped down and visceral, but where the former is punctuated with brief moments of colour in the form of a vocal sample, the latter offers the listener no respite from the leaden skies and, barren soundworld of Razors. From the rattling and pummelling momentum of the eponymous opener, to the clicks and glitches of brooding closer Trouble, the record thunders from one incinerating peak to the next crafting a thoroughly uncompromising and menacing aural experience.
With the combined duality of Shifted’s intricate sound design and the lethal drive of British techno, Razors solidifies his reputation as one of UK techno’s leading young lights.