Henry Green‘s singles in the lead up to Shift‘s release have been the aural equivalent of clean, measured, soothing breaths of pure oxygen. Now, with the release of his debut via Akira Records, his intuition and skill as an emerging producer can be fully appreciated in one extended and gratifying exhale.
Recorded in both Bristol & Berlin, and co-produced by Nico Rebscher and mixed by Jack Shuter, Shift is an album steeped in smooth, perfectly paced atmospheric soundscapes that focus around the ambiguous theme of movement. Green explains the album’s title Shift “was a word that just kept reappearing when writing the tracks, whether I was describing the structures, the instrumentation/arrangement and obviously, the lyrics. I wanted to exhibit a feeling of constant movement in the album, and that idea that every element is constantly shifting; but at a variety of paces.” From the gentle sounds of brief opener track ‘i’, it’s clear that Green’s faculty for adhering to this theme is all-encompassing.
It flows through to the breathy ‘Aiir’, which documents a vital love through graceful synths and tentative, persistent percussion. The eponymous ‘Shift’ continues to erode any sense of pre-listening unease with more of Green’s exquisite blend of delicate vocals and electronics. As with all tracks on album, the transitions are seamless, and ‘Another Light’ fades in and out in calm but absorbing style. Green’s instinct for timing and pace are especially impressive on the sublime ‘Stay Here’ – his intuitive and precious lyrics are scored by waves of atmospheric sound which elevate and sedate in equal measure. The instrumental ‘We’ provides aural breathing space, before ‘Without You’ and ‘Contra’ gently break the ambiance with their shimmering synths and trademark androgynous vocals. As the name suggests, ‘Diversion’ is a delicate penultimate instrumental which flows in to the soft, urgent ‘Something’.
Shift is an album that flows with feelings which, if explored in any other way, would be overwhelming. Henry Green’s debut is an ornate reassuring listen that will please fans of Four Tet, Mount Kimbie and Bonobo, or anyone who appreciates understated and effortless songwriting.
Shift (released via Akira Records) is available to purchase online now.