Henry Green | Shift | Akira Records
Release date: March 30th 2018
Review by Jenna Dreisenstock
A sunlit fall into stillness holds a stagnancy within it; a quiet moment to reflect on oneself, to know oneself – or an envelop of that silence. The heaviness of hyper-awareness in the still, a dark glow that encapsulates and clasps tight; a need to move forward urges us, a let go of the motionless world within us to progress. The ease of falling into the trap that stationary is reality – even though, we are in constant states of motion, subconscious or otherwise; constant states of change and progression that are sometimes unnoticeable, yet always present. The active embrace of our movement through the spaces in which we occupy, eager for growth in our navigation. Moving forward.
Shift presents to us perpetual motion in sincerity; an introspective exploration of sound in the caress of auditory animation. In his debut album, Bristol-based electronic artist Henry Green takes us on an intimate traverse; electronic soundscapes woven carefully within one another, yet with awareness of the open spaces in which to move and explore. Pre-dating Shift, Green released two EPs, his enticing and reflective song-writing effortlessly drawing in an enthusiastic following. At 22 years old, Green presents beautifully constructed atmospheres, a sound born from his love of electronics at a young age. Green’s attention to detail and auditory world building talent is evident in Shift, the introspection of progression and movement through heartfelt, lyrical self-expression.
The title track of the album, ‘Shift‘, beckons us into the atmospheric world created by Green; an embodiment of textural, tender motion. A layered dreamscape of sound; hypnotic in its smooth, steady yet gentle rhythm – soft, beckoning waves allowing us to drift seamlessly in an ocean of sympathetic tempo; yet simultaneously leading us forward with clear direction. Introduced by Green’s soulful vocal timbre, the theme of the album is encapsulated with it’s soothing opening lyric:
“I feel movement under my skin…”
Green’s voice caresses the accompanying atmosphere, layered glitches compassionate in their chillwave timbres and subtle percussion. Leading us to a moment of gentle introspection; we take a breath – the loving melody of a guitar glides into focus, a soundscape of percussive electronic embrace; collaged with Green’s expressive, comforting vocal style – embracing the upbeat of its tempo, the engulf of warm, animated sound. The encompass of experiment in auditory movement, allows for intimate aural drift amongst progressive clarity.
A ghostly, cold synth rises and falls to the touch; a melancholia in Green’s words, still and reflective – the fifth track of the album, ‘Stay Here‘ builds a world of emotional progression in it’s sombre, yet delicate nature.
“And when there’s no progress
I can’t move when I’m in this state
And in this process
Can’t give enough so I can reshape.”
A fall, glimmer of the light flickering within the sphere of sound layered with soulful keys, a reverberation of kind yet impulsive texture driving the track forward; rise and fall of the ribcage, the phantasm synth a caress to Green’s calm, intimate words and focused vocals:
“I’m in the darkness
I feel loose and I feel weightless
All in sound and all in the stillness
Nothing moves and I can’t stay here
I can’t wait here… for change.”
The icy chill of thoughtful synths and keys collide soft-heartedly with one another, as Green’s use of changing pace and tempo create perpetual movement in his sound; the slow yet confident build to a dreamy combination of intimate walls of encompassing and emotional haze.
‘Without You‘ opens with glittering harmonics, nostalgic and bathed in an auditory sunlight; Green’s vocals light up in a dreamscape, as further experimentation in movement lies within the upbeat repetition of a hazey percussive beat; a distant yet driving synth melody, floating peacefully in a mirage, a known direction; one’s eyes closed and swaying. A progression of kind, fluttering harmonics amongst the vocals, to an animated textural beat – flow into one another with a glittering tone.
The sincerity of the keys introduced to us in ‘Contra‘ create a tranquil yet theatrical mood, accompanying the heartfelt vocals, lo-fi and hypnotic – with a sound reminiscent of the eloquent, expressive vocal tone of R&B and the genre’s poignant and carefully collaged sounds. The experimental nature of Green’s exploration in texture flows effortlessly within itself, a tranquil yet playful world-building and observational intimacy.
Shift, in it’s unique sound, is the personification of its title; an experimental and emotional exploration of space, of timbre and of tone. An intimate journey through the reverberations in the spaces we occupy; the introspection of stillness in perpetual motion. Drifting with the ever changing tide, always moving in space and time; with purpose and perhaps structured direction. A haze of existence as the world slows and speeds up; the atmospheric soundscape built with each sound and step. In Shift, Henry Green’s words shimmer in sincerity; a heartfelt drive forward within his textural journey, through carefully built layers of sound. Thoughtful and dreamlike in the ever-moving haze, the atmospheric experience fills with loving detail and holds Shift in its palms, in the soft light of perpetual motion.
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