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The Traveller

Shed

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Album Review

Shed's 2010 album kicks off with hauntingly beautiful metallic scrapes and echoed synth moans in an intertwined composition that is practically uplifting. In other words, if you're going to make a mark, do so right from the start. Such is the case with "STP 2" at the beginning of The Traveller, and if Shed doesn't quite make it work as a constant series of peaks, it's still an album with plenty of high points. With "Keep Time" fully bringing in the percussion as echoed breaks somewhere between distorted hip-house and peppier dubstep drive the song, The Traveller kicks into full overdrive. At his best, Shed combines extremes shockingly well. The distant tones and subliminal bass of "The Bot" gets cut into by brisk, clipped, and clear beats and cymbal hits; the aggressive heartbeat punch and slide-starting "Mayday" — behind which softer loops first emerge — take over, then get subsumed under a completely new set of beats, all transforming the song several times over in the space of four minutes. The swarming loops on "HDRTM," percussive and swirling at once, make for another standout. Other songs like "Atmo — Action" are more conventional in their "start calmly, build up the beats" layers, or work with sounds, as on the introduction of "No Way!" that are a touch more familiar from the glory days of 20 years earlier. Shed often seems to be implicitly referencing the old sounds, but the elegance of how he puts them together, not to mention the constant sense of shadowy goth atmospherics deep in the mix, speaks for itself.

The Traveller, Shed
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