The dark lords of glitchy bass have struck again; Alix Perez and EPROM have unearthed the newest project in the Shades catalog, “From a Vein“. This fourteen-track LP was released on Alix Perez’s own 1985 Music and is comprised of haunting melodies, earth-rattling bass, and collabs with The Gaslamp Killer and MC GQ. This work was composed over 2019 and lockdown in 2020 between both artists’ studios in both London and Portland and seemingly done so with incredible attention to detail.

The art for this release was created by MFAXII, a colorblind artist whose medium is black and white ink on paper. One of his specialties is album art, and he has created for a plethora of talented artists over a range of various genres. The meticulous detail in his piece for Shades is impeccable and truly captures the ambiance the duo goes for in their music.

The album begins with “Infernal Regions” and starts with gritty, dissonant synths layered one by one, enticing listeners into the depths of the unknown. It leads into”Purification“, a collaboration with The Gaslamp Killer. This song kicks things up a notch, building further on the synth lines while glittering arpeggios lead into a hip-hop-inspired beat, in which Gaslamp’s influence can certainly be heard. 

Deceitful Ways” wavers and quakes as the bassline gradually rises from below. The tension is palpable in this one before it kicks down into halftime arpeggio beats. “Immortals” then comes in with a subtle grooviness while distorted beats are progressively amassed. This one includes a feature from MC GQ, the only other collaboration on this work. 

Into Stone” slathers on the wicked vibes real thick, with whispering winds and echoing vocals over a metronome-like tap, inducing a sense of urgency and unsettlement within listeners. That is then quickly annihilated by a thousand-pound bass line, shining through as the star of the show. The sixth track, “Dark Wing,” which was previously released as a single, is a hefty halftime number that was released a couple of months ago. You can read about our thoughts on that one here!

We continue with “Against the Sun“, which dials things back a bit and tunes into mysterious frequencies that slowly ebb and flow throughout. It adds an air of abstruseness as middle eastern inspired melodies envelop listeners. 

Fans may recognize “Exulita” as the opening song from Shades’ DEF – Define Everything Future – show in Atlanta. They throw boiler room-style events in an underground setting in ATL and have featured huge names such as Lab GroupKumarionOf The Trees, and more on their lineups. The entirety of it is available on YouTube, and we highly recommend checking the performance out; it’s quite the treat. 

The infectious hip-hop beat in “Sub Noctem” will get all the heads nodding, as silky synths effortlessly sail through the ether. The phrase is Latin for “at dark/during nightfall,” which plays into the mood this song is emanating as well as the greater album as a whole. Similar style beats with escalated distortion are present in “Seek the Throat” as Shades aims for the headshot. 

Bleed” ever so slightly ramps up the tempo, tapping into a more hyphy dancey feel. Heavy halftime beats drive the breakdown of this track as a semblance of confidence seeps out of every pore. Colossal bass lumbers on in “Arachne,” while scintillating accents fill out the top line. 

We conclude the project with “Silent Image,” a chilling, freeform tune that wraps up this unearthly album in a black satin bow. It is a true exploration of sound design and complexity, and very reflective of what the Shades project is all about. 

What did you think of this monumental new album from Shades? Let us know in the comments below and on our socials!

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