Paradigm Shift is a posthumous tribute to Skinny Puppy programmer Dwayne R. Goettel. It is also a compilation designed to be representative of the past, present and future of the Vancouver-based Subconscious label. It's neatly packaged in one of those velvety, matt-finished cardboard cases that everyone secretly rubs up and down their face when they think no-one else is looking. (Er, unless it's only me who does that.)
Subconscious Records was initially created in 1993 to support aDuck, Goettel's techno project, then re-created in 1995 as Subconscious Communications with fellow Puppy member cEvin Key for their Download project. As a result, most of the twelve tracks on the album feature Goettel and/or Key.
There are two aDuck tracks to look out for, the frenetic Power and the previously unavailable Burnout. An early Download track is provided in the form of Zonk Lift, and the pre-Download project Doubting Thomas provides us with another two tracks entitled Blowfish and ZXY World.
Melt is a "sound collage" affair assembled by Key, Anthony Valcic and Ken Marshall from pieces recorded during Skinny Puppy's The Process album. It is comparable to the Puppy tracks Cellar Heat (off The Process) and Download (off Last Rights). I feel it would have been nice if a more typically Puppy-sounding track could have been included, but Melt is, nevertheless, another exclusive.
The future of Subconscious can be found in the form of Kone (Beflepia) and Plateau (Grasshopper), and the remainder of the album is made up of Glae Bastards by Dead Voices On Air (Mark Spybey from Download), Touched by Philth (Phil Western from Download) and two tracks by Tear Garden, Georgie the Parasite and Message 3.
The whole album has a very Download-style techno feel to it, and not much of a Skinny Puppy one, probably due to the complete absence of Nivek Ogre. If you are into Download, though, this is pretty much an essential purchase! (DH)