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Shapeshifter - Album Review: Stars

11 Jan 2017 // A review by Sarah Sampson

Stars is the latest offering from New Zealand Drum and Bass heavyweights Shapeshifter and it is their much anticipated release since their 2013 offering Delta. Shapeshifter is famous for their multi-layering of different sound effects and instruments and Stars is no different showing their love for pushing the boundaries and trying new sounds and effects. This album is a journey from start to finish with so many different styles and influences from smooth Jazz tones, to industrial and Hard House this album has something for every Drum and Bass fan.

The title track of the album is also the first song on the album and instantly draws the listener in with its etheric, carnival type atmosphere. It is a summer anthem song and over my travels this summer it is definitely a song I have heard multiple times from cars with their windows down and occupants singing along having the time of their life. 

For me it doesn’t matter what the genre of music is that I’m listening to – it is always the Drums and the Bass that turn me on (or off) to an artist, which makes the third track of the album Her my absolute favourite song as it has the most amazing drum sound of the entire album and it’s a song I’ve come back to every time I’ve finished a play through of the album.

I mentioned before the blend of Jazz and Industrial sounds in the album the Jazz sounds and instrumental ambience is perfectly blended in So Long and is perfectly placed in the album as a break for the heavier tracks which follow.

For those craving heavier, distorted tones then the 6th track Fake Charmer is for you. When I first heard this song I was instantly transported, in my mind, to the Super Top at Big Day Out with thousands of people jumping up and down around me with glow sticks.  This is most definitely a song you could not just stand and watch, live… it is one that will make you move regardless of wanting to or not.

The album, for me, was mostly filled with amazing new sounds and experiments but some of the songs I thought had too much going on in them for me to really be able to follow what was happening, or what the artists are trying to convey with the music. I’m a classically trained musician and while my history is largely with heavy metal (the more technical the better) I definitely got lost trying to follow some of the songs on this album – namely Occulus and Heart of Bones.

The majority of songs I absolutely loved – my favourites being Stars, Her, Drive and Fake Charmer. For Drum and Bass fans this album will not disappoint and for Shapeshifter fans I’m sure they will overlook my lack of liking ALL the songs on the album – as any music fan will tell you, how each person feels about a recording is always personal to that person.  One thing this album has made me want to do – Get out of the house and see Shapeshifter live – feeling the bass in Her and Fake Charmer is something I’m almost craving. This album deserves to be TURNED UP LOUD!


About Shapeshifter

New Zealand's best live act is an extraordinary spectacle you can't miss.

Shapeshifter has been heralded as a musical phenomenon on their ground breaking live shows and unique blend of heavy Soul/Drum n Bass. Their reputation as pioneers of modern music was built by an unique approach to Electronic music which had previously been restricted to computer based studio musicians and has earned them widespread critical and commercial acclaim.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shapeshifter


Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
System Remix
Year: 2011
Type: Album
The System Is A Vampire
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Shapeshifter Live
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Riddim Wise
Year: 2004
Type: LP
Year: 2003
Type: EP
Been Missing / Relocator
Year: 2003
Type: EP
Year: 2001
Type: EP
Year: 2001
Type: Album

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