Ohio-based noise upsetter Mike Shiflet has amassed an enviable amount of releases in the last decade. Tapes, vinyl, cdrs – you name it, he’s done it, but it’s taken until now for Shiflet to weld together what he regards as his defining work. The first in a series of two ‘proper’ albums, ‘Sufferers’ takes the listener to the very heart of Shiflet’s sound – through the abrasive noise heard on his early releases all the way to the shimmering ambience that made up his breakthrough album ‘Llanos’.
A deeply patient and rewarding record, Shiflet uses his long-practiced skills to lay waste to a gaseous collection of source recordings, bringing a chattering, disturbing resonance to what sounds like whirring hospital equipment. It is always difficult to reframe US noise music without the punk, tape-destroyed aesthetic – but like Kevin Drumm before him Shiflet manages to push his sound into high fidelity effortlessly. Each frequency is picked meticulously for maximum effect, and trust me when I say that if you listen on headphones you are treated to an entirely different experience.
Whether reducing the listener to an opium-fuelled coma on the shimmering ‘Axle Grease’, or treating us to the kind of intensity Fennesz last exhibited on ‘Endless Summer’ with ‘Blessed and Opressed’ there is a sense that Shiflet has an ineffable control over his plethora of techniques and ideas. A rare gem in a mire of half-hearted records, ‘Sufferers’ grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final creak. And this is only the beginning…
3. Axle Grease
4. Blessed And Oppressed
5. No Sanctuary