U.K.-based worriedaboutsatan are all about digging into the unknown and making something out of that darkness. There are elements of techno, dance, ambient, and heavy atmosphere in their work, with all of their musical voodoo coming to ahead on 2016s Blank Tape, their 3rd full-length. From that breakthrough record, the Yorkshire duo headed into the studio and recorded two improvisational sessions where they wanted to just hit play and see where their imagination would take them. No overthinking it, just in-the-moment creativity. The result is a two-track EP titled Shift. The album consists of “Shift(Part 1)” and “Shift(Part 2)” and it’s a dreamy, dystopian affair that has elements of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and even American composer Ben Lovett(check out his Synchronicity score for reference here.) It’s a stunning piece of work.
I spoke with Gavin Miller and Thomas Ragsdale last year about their band and the sound they create. Of their sound, Ragsdale stated “We used to be quite focused on making ‘dance music’, but since we’ve mellowed out in our 30s we’re more interested in writing music you can light a blunt to.” The guys said a lot more than that, and their music is more than just blunt-lighting fare, but I can see the advantage of an altered state of mind when listening to worriedaboutsatan, in-particular Shift.
Side A is “Shift(Part 1)”, a hazy, set-adrift-in-the-abyss kind of track. Think Lucifer Rising-meets-The Fog and you’ll have an idea of the musical trip you bought a ticket for. I think this is probably some of the most engaing music these guys have created. There’s something to be said for music that makes you groove as you zone out, but when you can get connected to the universe on a deeper level without 808 beats and Orbital-like grooves then that’s something(and kids, no blunts needed here.) “Shift(Part 1)” is very ominous to begin. You can imagine the Dark Lord himself rising from the fog searching for souls to take back to the Netherworld as this song opens. Dark ambient vibes mixed with Gothic chills take you into this world, but soon enough the vibe switches up a bit. Subtle percussive touches come in and there’s a melancholy that rushes over. It’s like Godley/Creme morphed with 80s Tangerine Dream. Guitars sound like they’re in an endless well as synths hang in the darkness.
“Shift(Part 2)” switches gears a bit and brings up the dancier tendencies of the band. A steady techno groove glides along atmospheric sonics and distant melody. Where Side A was the dark, Side B feels like the light. This is a zone-out kind of track, letting the rhythm take over and pull you into the world worriedaboutsatan has made for us. There’s elements of Cluster, Kraftwerk, even Oneohtrix Point Never to some degree.
These two track were recorded in two semi-improvisational recording sessions at the duo’s home studio in Yorkshire. There’s a looseness here that evokes the feeling of those wild and woolly days in 70s Germany when the Komische, Berlin School cats were blowing minds whilst recording in their living rooms with stacks of synths and ancient drum machines. worriedaboutsatan have captured that feeling of exploration beautifully on these two improvised recordings.
Shift is a continuation of the eerie and intricate aesthetics worriedaboutsatan have been perfecting for the past 10+ years. Melancholy and atmospheric electronica mixed with post-rock vastness continue to permeate this Yorkshire duo’s sound, but this time around it all feels looser and more expansive. Shift is a welcome reprieve from the the imploding outside world.
7. 7 out of 10