Shapeshifter: Reticulum Flux

Schematic, 2005

Reticulum Flux cover

Shapeshifter (Malcolm Goodman) subscribes to the “more RAM the merrier” school of music making a la label-mate Richard Devine. I can almost hear his computer overheating on complex DSP calculations. The effect can be overwhelming if you concentrate, or almost random if you let the music scroll on in the background. “Propulsion Barriers” sets the tone with an ominous, thunderous drone. Blips of computer life sprout, growing noisier as their pitches rise. “Trash Compactor” is similarly abstract. Bursts of high-pitched mathematical constructs pile up, falling with beat-like glitches.

Other tracks, like “Windtunnel,” are more ambient. Ghostly winds rush by humming telegraph lines. On “Acheron Sector,” demonic moans leak from the wire. These sounds lack context or melody, yet they’re strangely fascinating and, in the case of “Weightless,” emotionally resonant. It’s the kind of music that inspires my mind to make pictures: pulsing anime colors and neon sine waves. Occasionally it’s too dog-whistley—more interesting as a concept than as experience. But isn’t that what IDM is all about?