< main menu news latest catalogue UT releases Audion retail mail-order address email gig news

SHAPESHIFTER / HISTORY

Shapeshifter
Maureen Anderson & a floating raft of Leicester talent!

One of the most exciting Leicester live bands through the 1990s and beyond, Shapeshifter have always been an ever changing, growing and evolving band, aptly Maureen Anderson's Shapeshifter have continued on to live up to their name and shape-shift! "Unwrapping The Familiar" marked the start of a new era in the band, moving steadily towards a more eccentric psychedelic music. One part Gong & Mother Gong, with a dash of Nico, flashes of spacey Ozric Tentacles, & lots of ethnic spiced psychedelia.

Shapeshifter were judged "too marginal" for the tastes of the audience at the yearly Leicester Abbey Park Festival, though for an Ultima Thule production this is positively commercial! Of course, it depends on how you look at it. As Maureen so often says at concerts "If you thought that was weird, things can only get weirder!" and on the "Unwrapping The Familiar" CD they do! This extensively features Rain Garden members, and is my own (Alan Freeman) debut at playing in someone else's band. In many ways this was the pinnacle of Shapeshifter's creativity as a band during the 1990's, as professional product that is that showcases Maureen's poetic flair at its best.

The newer 2CD set "Time Capsule" collects 1) a largely instrumental improvisation CD called "Easier To Feel" from 1999 and 2) a 1998 live CD capturing Shapeshifter during another of their most creative phases (featuring Alan Freeman and Jim Tetlow, both later in Endgame). filling-in the missing period of Shapeshifter and showing the roots of how ideas for Endgame started. The live CD also features musicians from other Leicester bands: The Rain Garden, Earthly and Turtle Om, documenting one of the best ever gigs of the big Shapeshifter band.

Over the years I (Alan) played synthesizer live with various other incarnations of Shapeshifter. Endgame also played hybrid gigs with Maureen (and Dave Johnson) as Polymorph and recorded a studio album. More recently after the sad loss of David Johnson to cancer, I insisted that we shouldn't let the band die. I came up with the idea of a band that would transcend Endgame, Polymorph and Shapeshifter, with performances that could mutate from one to the other. I jokingly suggested Multimorph, which Maureen thought was a great name. And so Multimorph was born involving all of Endgame with Maureen and other musicians. Some good gigs ensued, although only on a couple of occasions did my vision of the transitional performance idea actually happen. Eventually, due to musical differences and other reasons, Steve and I left in October 2010. Multimorph and an occasional Shapeshifter continue, and you'll find lots more about all that on the web!

Discography...

GODSEYE ‎- MC Oblong Music OBL 023 (1995)
UNWRAPPING THE FAMILIAR - CD Shapeshifter, Ultima Thule UTSS CD1 (1997)
MAUREEN ANDERSON'S SHAPESHIFTER - CD ShapeCD014 (2000)
TIME CAPSULE: EASIER TO FEEL / LIVE AT THE PHYSIO AND FIRKIN (1998-99) - 2CD Shapeshifter, Ultima Thule UTSS CD2/3 (2001)
LIVE 1997 - CDR Shapeshifter, Ultima Thule UTSS CD4 (2002)
LIVE FISH ‎- CDR Shapeshifter (2003)
SHIFTING GEAR ‎‎- CDR Shapeshifter (2007)
LOOKING GLASS TIES (1999) - CDR Shapeshifter, Ultima Thule UTSS CD5 (2008)

plus related releases by: Maureen Anderson, Dave Johnson, Polymorph, Multimorph, etc.

Shapeshifter articles and reviews in Audion: #33/41, #37/42, #40/18, #47/28, #48/21

 

web site designed and managed by Alan Freeman 2000-2018 Ultima Thule, Leicester, UK - constantly work in progress, advice welcome, please report broken links - E&OE