Downtown Julie Brown
Shelter Red, Strike a Mortal Terror (Sound Vs. Silence)
In recent years, the word “terror” has been rather shunned as an adjective.
Of course, we know that heavy metal bands took the biggest hit on the post- 9/11 lexicon front; look at what happened to sales of Anthrax albums. Portland’s Shelter Red isn’t so terror-inducing as awe-inducing with their shimmering instrumental compositions. (Yes, the word “composition” isn’t stretching it with these numbers, complex in rhythm and time signature). This is one “instru-metal” band whose songs don’t make you wish for some kind of vocals, no matter how harsh and shrieking they might be. They feel complete and concise, not math-y at all. The wording of “Last Rites For the Dying, “Inferno” and the album’s title track seem meant to induce terror, but the sound is more likely to induce wonder at their instrumental prowess and innovative songwriting. It’s no wankfest though; they all feel substantial and listenable. The weapon of fear they most closely resemble is a sleek jet aircraft, piercing the air and leaving a vapor trail in its wake, and not necessarily armed with missiles.
Kaskade, The Grand (Ultra Records)
En route to his home in the dance music scene of San Francisco, Chicago-born DJ Ryan Raddon, otherwise known as Kaskade, spent several years honing his art in a warehouse in Salt Lake City. Like many visual artists are finding, this city offers a comparatively low cost-ofliving haven to refine an artistic vision until you are ready to move up to a major metropolitan center of activity. Refine he did, as the unaffected mixmaster has become one of the most sought-after talents in electronic music.
Following up on last year’s chart-topping Strobelite Seduction, The Grand is a mix that fully demonstrates the versatility of his skill and the feeling of being there at a live performance. The set includes collaborations with the Grammy-award winning British trio Dirty Vegas, and two remixes of “Move for Me,” his song with Deadmau5 (who toured here last month) which reached number one on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay chart last fall. As a kind of “aural blog,” the disc evinces a progressive and electroinfluenced sound, relatively upbeat and uncluttered, yet still allowing for artistry in the mix. And it’s a great choice for your next dance party.