It is with Trespasser’s Guide to Nowhere that the Russian trio of Night Shift (along with the assistance of Ous Mal‘s Olli Aarni) are finally realizing their debut full-length album. Released in two separate editions on California’s Time Released Sound, Trespasser’s Guide to Nowhere comes three-and-a-half years after the band’s self-titled debut EP—a release that saw them coin the phrase “punk ambient” as a self-imposed label. Roman Tcherezov, Misha Griboedov, and the anonymous ‘V.‘ have embarked on an eclectic musical journey here that is very difficult to define. So much so, in fact, that my main source of inspiration is the title.
The record begins with a multi-layered composition of electronically orchestrated madness in ‘Stoned Hitchhiker’. The track features some sampled vocals, synthesized instrumentation, field recordings, static, and more or less everything else you could imagine. Don’t try and mentally add a tempo to it, it won’t work, nor was one ever intended. What I suppose was intended is left for the listener to decipher. Despite its almost purely experimental nature, Trespasser’s Guide to Nowhere does show some glimmers of musical influence on occasion, such as the gently strummed strings that form the outro, though they’re accompanied with the seemingly random sound of an electronic car window being raised or lowered.
‘Lift to Where’ begins in a similar vein to its predecessor. Radio-style vocals grate against a mildly tribal tapping, harsh noise, static, and electronic wind chimes. Mix briskly for six minutes and seventeen seconds on high, and this is the outcome. ‘Ghost Ferry’ adds a touch of martial industrial to the precarious mix of odds and ends with specific apropos to the percussion at the end of the record.
Essentially, the only sure thing about Night Shift’s Trespasser’s Guide to Nowhere is that it’s made up of thirteen tracks that clock in at an uncalculated average of about six minutes a piece; Roman and Misha certainly put some time, effort, and enthusiasm into this record. The aforementioned length of the record denotes a significant journey—a journey that encounters numerous musical dichotomies and rogue expressions, and one that is coded in a way that only its creators will understand the true nature of.
Trespasser’s Guide to Nowhere has certainly been the most interesting and challenging record to write about to date. I love the challenge; it keeps me listening. If music fails to challenge us, then we will never reinvent it. For the post-industrial gadfly, collage noise enthusiast, and the odd neofolk lover with a taste for the abstract, there is something for you all on this record. Each track is similar to the last, but the quirks lie within the arrangements, recordings, and samples. While Trespasser’s Guide to Nowhere certainly didn’t jump out and hold me to attention, I haven’t given up on it yet as I feel there is something to gain here after a few listens. At least for the moment, if I were to put an interview on my bucket list, it would be with Night Shift.
01) Stoned Hitchhiker
02) Lift to Where?
03) School for the Gifted
04) Ghost Ferry
05) Ensign Song
06) Trees Beckon, but Hospital Catches
08) Woods Scare
09) Orthodox Transmitter
10) Woods Sooth
11) A Brief Stay at Antenna-Worshipping Camp
12) Wolfpack Crosses the Border
13) Alternative End