Driftmachine Shunter

Driftmachine Shunter
7
This fifth album from Berlin duo Andreas Gerth and Florian Zimmer has a bare-knuckle appeal that will be well-received by admirers of shop-floor industrial music — the kind that sounds more like a factory tour than it does something you'd choose to click play on.
 
The suitably titled Shunter opens with "Shift," parts I-IV. Described in the album's notes as "a sort of score," it's an elegantly composed set of pieces that are surprisingly delicate given their harsh instrumentation.
 
Don't be surprised if your first couple of listens feel a bit meandering and heavy-handed, given all the clanging metal. In fact, this first half of the album is handsomely crafted.
 
Next is "Blind Signal Box"; its measured pace is genuinely relaxing but the piece is too percussive to be described as ambient. Umor Rex labels it "post-industrial dub," which isn't far off. There's little in the way of true dub-style studio techniques here, but it does share a similarly easy cadence. "Congé" follows, with a bass line more reminiscent of traditional dub. Covered as it is in layers of electronics and found sounds, the end result is satisfyingly complicated.
 
The album ends with its longest track, "The Plans Were Never Accomplished." It is a major work, packed with ear-ringing synths and surprising compositional turns. As calming as the material that precedes it is, this one never lets you get too comfortable. In that sense it points back to some of the great works of the late 20th century. It lines up nicely with the history of serious electronic music, without feeling anything like a throwback. (Umor Rex)