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Shapeshifter

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Shapeshifter by name and by nature, this elemental, electronic soul outfit has morphed time and time again with seismic shifts in genre – from depth-charge bass music, elastic electronic textures and barrelling breakbeats to bedrocks of soul, jazz and rave that ground their experimentation. But never has the well-earned name been more apt than on album number five, Delta, their most fearless release yet.

Delta is the embodiment of this spirit of exploration. The sublime opening chords of ‘Arcadia’ and junglist jabs of ‘Shadowboxer’ neighbour elevated trance progressions in ‘Diamond Trade’ and jagged guitar riffs on ‘Giving Up the Ghost’. Delta builds on Shapeshifter’s bass heritage while barreling forward into the future, unhindered by BPM counts or genre boxes.
Perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of Delta is the electronic production underpinning the album. Live drums have mostly been eschewed for a backbone of digital rhythms that support all-analogue instrumentation of vintage synths, horns and guitar.

While the studio inputs have been tweaked, Delta’s ethos of experimentation is one that will be familiar to anyone who has chartered the group’s evolutions in sound. Like the mighty Twelve Mile Delta in the South Island of New Zealand, the album’s namesake, Delta marks a confluence of Shapeshifter’s influences – past and present.

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