To quote one of the duo, Shift Work can be summarised without hyperbole or the tenuous reference points of desperate marketers. When asked by The Quietus exactly what the partnership comprises, Mark Harris cut to the chase: “Johnny Rivo, myself, mid-priced synths, low-end vintage effects, endless improvising...”
Working from their hand-built (read: home-made) studio in North London, once a stable for horses, the pair make uncompromising music in a compromising place, building throbbing tracks with analogue kit and busted-up amps. They also break with dance and electronic norms in at least two ways. A respect for the need to both fill and leave space in musical arrangements; a clear disregard for genre boundaries, veering from punchy techno and acidic electro to scuzzy leftfield house in one fell swoop.
In a scene defined by rigid sonic structures, rules are bent but the results remain useful and usable. Hence Resident Advisor, Juno, Bleep and The Ransom Note fawning over the first Shift Work EP, Scaled To Fit. And the follow up, their first on Houndstooth, Document II, furthers their mechanistic yet artful vision. This is otherworldliness aimed at dark rooms, dancing freaks and those who demand more than basic thuds, unnecessary bells and throwaway whistles; a remit plenty could learn from. Until they do however, at least you know where to find it in practice.