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Rhian Sheehan - Paradigm Shift


Welcome to the world of Rhian Sheehan, where acoustic melancholy meets synthesised soundscapes in an electronic mind meld, taking the listener on a rich and rewarding musical journey. Organic instruments are married to a computer-based bed of lush layered sounds. Intangible emotion is summoned from synthesised sounds. Sampled soundbites and snippets of dialogue are contextually redefined. No more than an assembly of simple sonic elements, no less than an ultimately unique and personal musical vision - this is the Paradigm Shift.

A talented, traditionally trained acoustic guitar player, Rhian Sheehan was introduced to the limitless possibilities of computer-based music making whilst studying composition at Canterbury University. At his Christchurch home, Rhian began recording towards this debut album - Paradigm Shift. Initial tracks focussed on acoustic guitar playing, both solo (on "My Absolution") and alongside Jolyon Mulholland, (on "Humoured") with whom Rhian had played regularly as the Alchemy Duo, touring internationally and playing with the likes of Paul Ubana Jones and Tommy Emmanuel. Soon, however, the added expressiveness and emotional impact of the instrument when coupled with electronically generated beats and soundscapes became the basis for a new sound, first evidenced on "She Walks Into Mine" and the album's title track. A shift to Wellington early in 2000 opened new opportunities for Rhian - the public were introduced to his music through the inclusion of two songs ("She Walks Into Mine" and "Garden Children") on LOOP Magazine's cover CD, and received them favourably. The relationship with LOOP was solidified with the offer of an album deal, now reaching fruition as the debut release for LOOP RECORDINGS AOT(EAR)OA, the new independent record label which continues the musical vision of LOOP - to boost Aotearoa's underground creative culture by offering support and release assistance to independent local recording artists.

The finished album offers an all-encompassing overview of Rhian's broad musical vision. The opening sheen of "She Walks Into Mine" is overlayed with radio coverage of the fall to Earth of the Russian Mir space station over the Pacific Ocean earlier this year. A rich foundation of guitars, synthesisers and crisp beats kicks into life with a gasp. The following track is Rhian's most collaborative effort yet - highlighted by the sublime vocals of Lotus Hartley (the vocalist on Christchurch dub artist The Nomad's single "Where Are You?", who also topped New Zealand's Alternative Radio Chart in April of this year with her own "Slumber), "Waiting" also features Wellington musicians Tehi (Fat Freddy's Drop) and Darren Mathiassen (TrinityRoots), and benefits from the studio wizardry of producers George Nepia III and Jeremy "50Hz" Geor. Elsewhere on the album, further friends and family are enlisted for assistance - Devon Abrams of Shapeshifter plays saxophone on "Garden Children", and Rhian's two month old daughter Niva has her say on "Childsmind". A recycled jazz loop drives "Air On A Bass String", while gentler moments such as "My Absolution" and "Journey To Wakatuhuri" strip the sonics back to lay bare Rhian's acoustic roots. Rounding out the record, "Waiting" is reprised in a drum & bass style, and Rhian's remix of Christchurch all female hip-hop group Sheelahroc's forthcoming single "If I Gave You The Mic" is included as a bonus track.

"We need to appreciate that we are intimately connected to the universe. That we are made of the same materials, just assembled in a different way. Everything around us, including yourself and the vast universe, appears to have been born together as one, some 15 billion years ago, in a colossal explosion caused by a fluctuation in nothingness. The paradigm shift in human comprehension is the newfound knowledge that we are all one in the same, but all individually unique." - Rhian Sheehan

RELEASE DATE: 29 June 2001 Catalogue Number: LP001 Available through Border Distribution

© Scoop Media

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