Shift is an ambient spirit. The introverted notes shy away from the day, failing in their attempt to absorb the light, reflecting a sunken shipwreck sleeping on the seabed. The music of Ghost and Tape (Heine Christensen) searches for solace. Encased in its tomb of mystery and hoping in time to ascend to a place of unimagined beauty, the ambient music slowly rises, occupying the space around it with a series of circular orbs, light sighs and gentle raps.
Ambient layers unfold with a delicacy only matched by a butterfly’s paper-thin wings. At first, the higher tones twinkle and then quickly fade, using their limited amount of energy in a single burst of illuminating colour and light. Other, improvised layers later settle onto the bed of the music. The higher notes have shaped the appearance of the bed. Sheets have been lightly creased and now feature waves of tiny, swelling crests, thanks in part to the earlier, higher notes. From here, and for the rest of the album, Shift rests. The movement of the music isn’t immediately apparent. Like much of ambient, it plays at a slow pace, but it somehow feels even slower than the typical style, left in a permanent state of slow motion that it can never escape. It’s the kind of record you could get lost in. Impenetrable cul-de-sacs inhale a low-lying fog that lingers in and around the musical maze. Red roses turn to black as they progress in their state of slow decay, pale imitations of what they once were.
The analogue sound spirals like a spider’s web around the music and its delectable ambient textures. A light made out of pearls enters the space. A pale, grey colour shifts, the tones lightening into a shade of blue and then morphing into an indigo hue. The music has awoken. Its eyes can suddenly see livelier colours that had previously been hidden deep inside. Like an EVP, the microphone picks up a light, tired knocking as something strikes the lonely stone. The thicker tones of ‘Laex’ brood in the darkness, but, like lifting clouds in a dark sky, they’re also punctuated by brighter spells.
In a way, Shift is a complicated record. The tones that visit this place are frequent, tiny and incredibly thin. But they’re also very calming. ‘Home’ leads the spectre closer and closer to its desired sanctuary, a meditative place of echoes and running streams. An ambient line meanders softly along, only picking up a little static-sediment towards the end. A light drizzle falls on stone angels and then trickles onto the grass. The rain becomes more insistent as the spirit returns to its resting place. Ghost and Tape’s music slowly swirls and shifts, its dense shrouding of fog covering its appearance, haunting and soothing in equal measure.