In my opinion, the best produced album of this year (2014). Every track carefully examined and fine-tuned; if it wasn't an otherworldy danceable hit that should be playing across the globe, it was a masterful piece of synth heaven to open your mind to. Shadow Dancer shows us that techno and house are not dead, and that they can be truly beautiful.
Favorite track: Shake (Album Version).
Shadow Dancer, two brothers with a love of old synths (particularly ones that arpegiate) and strong coffee, have been releasing music together since 2006. After releasing their debut album ‘Golden Traxe’ on Boysnoize Records in 2009, they have gone on to release tracks on Turbo Recordings, Unknown To The Unknown, Balkan Vinyl and, of course, GND Records. We now present to you their second album: ‘Brothers in Arps’. This album is the culmination of two and a half years of work in the studio from the Farrier brothers.
The album kicks off with ‘Trust’, with sounds of FM synths slowly coming out of hibernation to a groove-laden IDM vibe. Then it’s straight into ‘Shake’, Shadow Dancer’s first ever vocal collaboration and the flyer single for the album (which came with fantastic remixes from The Hacker, Vin Sol and Posthuman). Bad Life Records’ David AKZ provides a wonderfully spooky Gahan-esque vocal and lyric involving black hearts, despairing ‘vultures’ and voices from another land (possibly heard only within his own head). We have no idea what it means but it’s strapped on to an insistent Detroit techno riff that you hopefully will be unable to stop shaking your body to. Next is ‘Manhunter’, a sleazy slice of italo-disco which constantly mutates with increasing intensity until it drags you back to it’s catchy main theme.
A track from last year’s ‘Hydrate’ EP (released on Unknown To The Unknown) follows: ‘MATTA’ is an addictive bit of acid with a vocal nagging about ‘matter…energy…dimension…or time’. It appears here in an exclusive remixed form. Then comes ‘Help Center’ a reflective piece of electronica with eerie arpeggiating synths and warm bass. ‘Strut’ follows, a storming, throbbing techno track, which will appear as a single later in the year with remixes. The first half of the album is rounded of by ‘The Light’ a beautiful ambient interlude that recalls Angelo Badalamenti and which demonstrates Shadow Dancer’s versatility and the sheer range of influences that went into making this album.
The second half kicks off with ‘Hydrate’, a jacking house track which was the lead track from last year’s UTTU EP which was first premiered by Mixmag last September and has been Shadow Dancer’s biggest track of the last year. This is an exclusive extended version. Next is ‘Black Fox’, a very melodic slice of old school techno, which recalls early Inner City as well as Shadow Dancer’s own ‘Second City’ track from 2012. Then comes ‘Breakable’, a mutant funk track that was released on GND last summer and was remixed by Matrixxman, Jokers of the Scene and J.Tijn.
‘Haunted’ follows, a spooky hybrid of garage and techno with wailing vocals. ‘Unspeakable Things’ is next. Originally released on GND last summer, an electro track for contortionist head-spinners, with a vocal reminiscing about doing “all sorts of unspeakable things on the dancefloor’. This was recently remixed to great effect by Paul Mac, Dave Tarrida and joeFarr. ‘Racine’ is a track that Shadow Dancer have been playing to devastating effect in their DJ sets for the past few years and has remained anonymous…until now - a frantic mix of cut up vocals and disco hooks. ‘Supertoys’ rounds of ‘Brothers in Arps’, a wistful piece of electronica to take you off somewhere special.
released October 10, 2014
All tracks written and produced by Paul and Al Farrier.
Recorded 2011-2014 in Manchester and North Wales.
David Cox appears courtesy of Bad Life.
Mastered by Turbo Turbo.
Sleeve artwork and design by Chris Vermiglio.
All tracks P&C GND Records 2014.
except 10. & 12. P&C GND Records 2013.
Original versions of 4. & 8. released on Unknown To The Unknown 2013.
The copyright in this recording is owned by GND Records.
All rights of the producer and of the owner of the recorded work reserved. Unauthorized copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this recording prohibited.