Redshape :: Square (Running Back)

Redshape’s geometry is logical but complex and nuanced, serious but uplifting.

Redshape ‘Square’

“Men’s souls wrestle with the thought of tomorrow,” some authoritative man’s voice from the fifites opines on Square, as does Redshape’s today. Redshape is a man behind a mask, literally, and Square a continuation of the slightly-dystopian dilemma reflected on his 2009 long-playing debut The Dance Paradox. His music shares an affinity with that of Burial, another beat and atmosphere-oriented critic of civilization who does not care to show his face in public.

Both embark from the template of what is essentially dance music and while they often take fancy flight, neither can quite hold back the drear from which the party is supposed to be a distraction. Better living through technology is the dream, but if it malfunctions, there are few options for escape. Outside is all moulded concrete without a single colour note, angular, bare, squared. Redshape’s geometry is logical but complex and nuanced, serious but uplifting, like “Starsoup” with its distinctly nostalgic feel, back to a more naïve, analogue seventies. Handclaps (“The Channel”) and cowbell (“Moods & Mice”) are festive, human touches, but Redshape’s beats are otherwise electrically-generated and spare, a diagram of bones over which he streteches expansive synthesizer melody.

The tympanic “Paper” is downright fat and jolly. His seaside “Landing” makes the indoors so much bigger than the urban outdoors ever could be and “Enter the Volt” could be the theme music for a twenty-second century vaudevillian robot comic. The guest appearance by a rapping Space Ape on “Until We Burn” is, to this reviewer, clumsy and less satisfying than Redshape’s otherwise more deft handling of oblique messages conveyed by sampled voices.

The album does end with a little green patch, “The Playground (Square Version),” which is downright benign and perky. A smile behind the mask upon seeing the kids playing in the bright light of day, after all?

Square is available on Running Back. [Buy at Delsin]

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