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Mike Shannon - Memory Tree


It’s a busy month for those Canadian tech-house producers, what with Deadbeat’s latest album, and now Mike Shannon’s 3rd studio LP and his first for Acquaviva and Hawtin’s legendary Plus 8 imprint.

Of all the producers emerging from Canada over the last 10 years, I’ve always followed Shannon’s music and his Cynosure label with interest, as there’s always been an element of fun and playfulness in his music that is often missing from a somewhat dry scene. Add to that a Latin influence spent I believe by time in Chile, and like Mathew Jonson, who guests here on “Wolf Module”, a strong melodic aesthetic, and there’s much to be admired in his work.

It’s disappointing then that “Memory Tree” never really evolves out of anything particularly straightforward. Composed of 10 tracks over an hour, it’s geared straight for the dancefloor, but whilst certain tracks hint at progression beyond satisfying that murky area of “warm-up” atmospheric tech-house where no specific element is pushed too strong, it doesn’t break out into any new territory.

The sort of ambiguous, mid-tempo, oscillating melodies in “Regalos de Pandora” are heard too often in today’s minimal techno and house scene too often, and whilst they are undeniably Shannon’s style, it feels as if he is treading water. “Enero” is the highlight of the album, a bright and breezy 8 minute sojourn through some uplifting tones, the end track “La Tentation”  and “Uno Para el Sol” hint at Prescription-esque House that Ron Trent would admire, but overall it seems as if many of the compositions are based around a handful of melodic ideas and don’t go beyond that.

As with many of these albums, they feel more like a collection of tracks pushed together, rather than having any sort of cohesive feel to them. Whilst the production and dancefloor aspect of “Memory Tree” remains strong, I found it hard to warm to the idea of it being anything more than that.

Toby Frith

Memory Tree on Discogs

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