“Sufferers” by Mike Shiflet
A grim offering of shimmering noise from Ohio veteran Mike Shiflet.
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…