To call Shake Off The Village Stefan Christensen's debut full-length would be a bit of a misnomer. Since moving to solo work in 2015 Christensen has released a slew of full-length cassettes, vinyl EPs and collaborations. However, Shake Off The Village marks Christensen's first outing at 12 inches and 33 RPMs.
SOTV was recorded in his makeshift studio space, at home and at live shows, over a period of two years. The recordings are weaved together, allowing for only occasional silences, and daringly bridging from tailored acoustic songwriting to blaring all out noise assaults. The record shows a shift in Christensen's writing. Many of the full band tracks are culled from hours of improvisation and often bring to mind the fertile Xpressway catalog. While loop driven four-track meditations veer closer to Precious Metal micro-presses, and nimbler guitar tracks show that Christensen's songwriting prowess is as profound as ever. The air is heavy on SOTV, as tracks draw inspiration from Christensen's daily life— interactions with students navigating a harsh urban experience at the high school where he works, death, longing and his roommate's editorial dealings due to the New Haven Register's 25 cent price increase. However tensions are always eased with odes to friends, past and present, and a hopeful bliss one occasionally stumbles upon.
Christensen has oft cited names like Galbraith and Shepard as pivotal influences, but their largest inspiration doesn't seem to come in sound, but rather in the way that Christensen's music, demands the listener's attention - not to be relegated to the background, the ebbs-and-flows, tensions and quarrels of Shake Off The Village force their way front and center, not to be ignored. A keen observer noted Christensen's music as easy listening for those who enjoyed difficult listening and we could not agree more.