The New LoFi

Ten Years

The Night Shift, for a Rainy Evening

For a few years now, I’ve been following select splinter cells emerging out of 2-step and future garage: blasphemers, who have begun to challenge the assumption that their particular strains of electronic music need be high-energy or aggressive. Based largely in Britain, but fanning out to include such far-flung locales as New Zealand, Japan, and Russia, the most prolific of them have recently joined their forces into a loose affiliation called, simply, the Night Shift Collective.

Their sensibility is not too difficult to define — murky underwater grooves, broken beats, and sometimes growling infra-basslines, all awash in endless prisms of muffled emotion — but hearing each artist’s individual stylistic twists is both fascinating and evocative of whole universes left to uncover within genres typically thought of as rigid or one-dimensional. Sampling (and drowning, and mangling) such diverse and suggestive elements as a Billie Holiday vocal, or a piano line from the film American Beauty, each of them acts as a kind of spiritual archaeologist, painstakingly excavating the histories of soul music, shard by reflective shard.

With artist names like Sorrow, Hiatus, Mirror State, Solitude, Ghostek, and delete, the collective is full of a strange absence, an emptiness — the type of yearning nostalgia we’ve come to expect from more famous acts like Burial that’s at times haunting and other times melancholic, but always bursting and reverberating with a wounded, conflicted and ultimately redemptive humanity.

It’s the kind of music that makes you want to keep it all for yourself, to listen to alone in the dark, staring at the raindrops streaming delicately down your window.

The collective puts it even more simply:

If you’re trying to find the soundtrack to your night in solitude or just chilling out, look no further.

[Find the Night Shift Collective on SoundCloud or Facebook.]

[audio: – She Who Is Afraid To Explore Potential (Numb).mp3|titles=Owsey – She Who Is Afraid To Explore Potential (Numb)]
Owsey – She Who Is Afraid To Explore Potential (Numb)

[audio: & sotus – the red wheel.mp3|titles=delete & sotus – the red wheel]
delete & sotus – the red wheel

[audio: & Shura – Fortune’s Fool.mp3|titles=Hiatus & Shura – Fortune’s Fool]
Hiatus & Shura – Fortune’s Fool