Boomkat Product Review:
Sam Shackleton returns to his "core sound" with an intense solo long player of sunrise afters psychedelia and brain tickling, bass heavy rhythmic fusion. Completely absorbing music that spirals thru odd time signatures and offworld instrumentation, landing in a rare meditative space that's a balm fer the soul.
It's been a few years since Shackleton's last proper solo full-length; recently he's been more drawn to bold concepts and collaborations, so it's an unexpected pleasure to hear him circling back to basics on "Departing Like Rivers". Here he processes the emotional complexity of the last couple of years with a warm blast of cascading vocal splices, hypnotic drones and rousing sub pressure. There's little surprising about the album, but he investigates his own tropes more deeply, channeling the looping 'n loping weirdness of his Woe To The Septic Heart! run into a coherent seance that clothes the ghosts of the past in vivid nu threads.
The genre-shaping oddstep of his earliest releases is now left as only a faint trace, while elements snipped from folk music and experimental drone forms loom much larger. Each rhythmic cycle feels as if it dances around the 4/4 idea, without locking into the expected chug, allowing the brain to create subtle aural hallucinations while it processes the complex web of well-chiseled sounds. Electronic and vocal cuts usher us into a spiraling k-hole of echoing instability; colors are painted and then melted, and coherent forms shattered into tiny pieces before being carefully, slowly reassembled.
At this stage in his career, Shackleton isn't interested in making stand-out tracks or bangers; on 'Departing Like Rivers' he creates an emotional soundscape to aid anxious moments and reflective states. It's art that shares as much musickal DNA with Catherine Christer Hennix or FM synth pioneer Maggi Payne as it does with T++ or Peverlist. Pure phantasmagoria.