SHAPESHIFTER – Live Fish (Private Pressing)

Shapeshifter are the brainchild of South African singer/flautist/poet Maureen Anderson, who relocated to Leicester and formed a band which enabled her to present her South African musical roots and her poetry in a rock setting. The music which accompanies her prose is free-form and psychedelic, but with shards of lucidity where the music pulls together and a searing guitar solo will pierce the backdrop of conga and bass. The music is very rhythmic, with plenty of percussion, and the bass way up in the mix. Anderson’s heavily accented vocals are overlaid onto this backing as she recites her poems and plays her flute, and the resultant mix is oppressive and mesmerising. This is not really the sort of thing that I would normally listen to, but there was something about it which made me listen all the way to the end, and I did actually quite enjoy it. Both free-form and progressive, with a great rhythm section holding it all together and space rock guitar scattered throughout, this would surely appeal to fans of Hawkwind and Gong, as that late 60’s ‘anything is possible’ feel is evident on a lot of these tracks. He sound quality is excellent for a live album, and it is available from the band’s website at