Archive for Pitchshifter

Classic Album Review – Pitch Shifter “Infotainment?” 1996

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2010 by Lightning Slim

  Pitch Shifter has two very distinctive career phases, the first being a sludge-industrial sound reminiscent of early Godflesh (indeed, the first record is simply called Industrial). The second and more well-known phase is a punk/breakbeat mashup with J.S. Clayden’s vocals switched from Captain Caveman to Johnny Rotten, ending up with a Pistols & Prodigy flavour. In between these two poles lies an interesting equatorial territory two albums wide, with Desensitized shouldering the weight of their sludgy heritage (with just a whiff of Big Black-style menace) and Infotainment? breaking further away with shorter song structures and electronic augmentation. The band would also lose the space in their name hereafter, becoming one-word Pitchshifter.

Structure is the main departure from previous material, with the bulk of the tracks devoted to verse-chorus-verse brevity, although “Hangar 84” experiments further with a hypnotic slide into pure jungle.  Those fond of the harder vocal style will find this record its swan song; there’s plenty of grind on hand but those moments share the stage with some early attempts at a cleaner delivery. The overall tone is more angry/political, supplanting the earlier mechanical doom and aiming for the knockout punch over slow suffocation.

I adore Infotainment? but it’s not a perfect record. It’s a bit short; twelve tracks yield eight actual songs with the other time devoted to intros and an admittedly cool collection of freeware samples. The album feeds off its own self-contained vibe as well – by the time “Whiteout” rolls around  at track 9, it seems like we might have heard it before, but because there’s nothing else quite like it before or afterward in the PSI canon, Infotainment? stands easily on its own merits. 8 out of 10

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Deals and Steals: Support Your Local Record Store

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , on March 8, 2010 by Lightning Slim

 I was in my local brick-and-mortar indie record store today picking up the copy of Un-United Kingdom they had pulled for me (thanks to my automated Wish List), and I got to thinking about how I could not be the person I am today without the timely and messianic intervention of underground music. Music I would not have been able to hear in those barbaric pre-internet days without the help of my local music store.

Convenient as the interwebs might be, it doesn’t hold the same excitement for me as actually going down to the store to flip through the racks, chat with the staff and hear new music being played. All the posters for the local gigs are there, and often the musicians themselves. I’ll miss the real music stores when they’re gone – we will have lost yet another gathering place for dreamers and dissenters. 

So thank you, Encore. Thank you, Vortex, Refried Beats, Monster Records, Sonic Boom and all the others who’ve helped me find great music along the way. Hold on as long as you can!

Share if you will – which stores got you started and kept you going?

Update March 12: Right about here I used to have a banner linking to Record Store Day.com, but apparently I’m not allowed to have it unless I’m a “participating retailer” or an accredited press member writing an ongoing (and presumably fawning) story about their organization. It seem that the people honouring the local disc peddler have you join their little union in order to get involved. Doesn’t sound very indie to me!

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