New Zealand drum and bass group, Shapeshifter are excited to announce the release of their seventh studio LP, Rituals.
Comprised of 11 songs, Rituals marks the group’s first release since their 2016 album, Stars.
Although the album officially releases today, Shapeshifter have previously released a small handful of the album’s singles, each met with high demand as seen on the festival and touring circuits, as well as being featured on streaming platform rotations including Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and more.
This new era of Shapeshifter sees the group tapping into the energy of their soulful anthemic drum and bass tracks – delivering the classic Shapeshifter sound while also sonically and lyrically exploring themes from their earlier bodies of work.
To celebrate the release of Rituals today and as part of our track by track series, the group have walked us through each of the songs on the brand new LP.
Found in You
‘Found in You’ reminds us that it’s never easy losing friends, and it really does get harder when you lose those that you’ve known longer. ‘Found in You’ is sonically dedicated to that spirit of friendship and all of those good friends that remind you that its worse hanging on and pushing on.
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‘Life’ holds the sentiments of the ups and down, the pitfalls and the trials and tribulations of life. What doesn’t kill you should make you stronger right? This track is about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and rising once again. Bringing warmth like the dawn does.
‘Lightspeed’ came from being inspired by Tracy Chapman’s song ‘Fast Car’. The love for the song, in particular the lyric “speed so fast it felt like I was drunk” was inspiration behind exploring speed and sound, which became the overall lyrical concept.
Ritual (Under your Spell)
Paying homage to old school gaming and the transition to arcade gaming, ‘Rituals (Under your Spell)’ hones in on the feelings of being back in the day as a kid. Needing your 20c piece to play games like Space Invaders… Then arcades came about where you needed tokens to play your favourite game likes Gallagher, Gyruss, Defender, yep – something about those arcades, dark rooms, nice lighting, really loud music… The feelings of those spaces are the inspiration behind Ritual.
‘The Roxxy’ came about due to a connection to jungle music, and there would be no Shapeshifter without jungle music. For the last couple of years with the whole world in a pandemic and tumultuous times it felt like the mantra, “without peace of mind will we ever find comfort?” was fitting and needed for the times we were in. The vocals come with a punk rock feel to juxtapose nicely over the jungle riddim. This is the monster that is The Roxxy.
‘Embers’ embodies the old school, holding a ‘reggae meets drum and bass’ type of feeling. The track gives a nod to sound system parties, people building their own sound systems and putting DJs on to the point that the culture becomes their lives, and hints towards reggae sound system culture and the music in that lane.
‘Giant Steps’ is a take on the street with a grime-y feel, and it’s about city life and our community and how it might not feel like we’re a small part of a big organism but really we’re moving forward individually as well. The track centres around the themes of community, society, rave culture the grind – and inspiring to grow when you feel like a cog in the machine.
A slinky little house vibe summer sizzler. Written just before last summer while looking for a 4/4 house sound, the Tropicana horn stabs in ‘Motion’ make this one a perfect banger for the house party or barbecue vibe. The tune is a celebration of collaborations with friends, when the combination is just right, and the momentum and uplift that comes from creation makes the vibe untouchable.
‘Ricochet’ portrays the struggles to conform, while having the power of trusting in yourself and your life path and gaining inspiration when people are telling you that you need to conform to the “mainstream,” or ideas that are upheld to ascribe to. The tune is a reaction to the pressure to conform while maintaining blazing individuality
‘The Brave’ holds a similar sentiment to previous track ‘Ricochet’, speaking to those who are on the journey through the struggles of conformity. It’s a message to everyone that there’s power in being a risk-takers – those are the brave. The way to move forward is through humanity and compassion – and not capitalism and the system.
Right now, Shapeshifter are gearing up to tour Rituals around New Zealand, seeing the group take on Christchurch’s Town Hall on July 30th and Auckland’s Spark Arena on August 14th.