Shadow FX – Direct Influence (Zenon)

Posted in Reviews 2007 by - August 05, 2007
shadow FX


Most albums that pass through the psyreviews sphincter of taste get played five times if they’re lucky. Direct Influence I’ve been listening to solidly for three days. It sounded so good through the (admittedly, quite modest) stereo at Psyreviews Acres, sounded good on the headphones, and even sounded good in the car. There’s something very special about this indeed, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the fact that I can’t quite put my finger on what that very special thing is.

Shadow FX comes from the Sensient heritage, that postmodern meta-progressive trance. His sound is deeply elastic, baggy-grooved stuff that transports you to a dusty summer dancefloor with a beer in one hand and another beer in the other.

The sheer spaciousness is addictive. Sounds warp around you, leaving you in this dubby vacuum where the slightest change (of which there are many) has a huge effect. It’s like it’s music that you don’t listen to so much as have a relationship with.

The drop at 6:35 on Alkhemist is so effortless, and so micro-subtle, it’s hardly there – yet it is staggeringly effective. The melodies on Full Floyd Rig are weaved together in such a way that you don’t hear them, you feel them.

Comparisons with Sensient are inevitable: Shadow FX is less psychedelic, in the true sense of the word, but the main difference is in the presence. Where Sensient creates this incredible bed of sound that you get drawn into and eventually fall over on, Shadow FX has what appears to be a more tender emotional side – which is not to say that the man is a bit of a softy. The way that he flits between intimate and distant is probably the best way to put it – the music touches you, then shifts back to his addictive, spongy platform. It really is as though you’ve witnessed something a little bit magical.

The best example of this, and my personal standout track on the album, is Woodlander. Organic, flowing, warming stuff with a melodic section that’ll make a grown man cry.

This is something very, very special. I can’t see myself getting bored of it for a while yet, and it’s the best reason in a while to invest in some big fuckoff speakers.

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