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Rhian Sheehan

"We need to appreciate that we are intimately connected to the universe. That we are made of the same materials, just assembled in a different way. Everything around us, including yourself and the vast universe, appears to have been born together as one some 15 billion years ago, in a colossal explosion caused by a fluctuation in nothingness. The paradigm shift in human comprehension is the newfound knowledge that we are all one in the same, but all individually unique." - Rhian Sheehan

Welcome to the world of Rhian Sheehan, where acoustic melancholy meets synthesised soundscapes in an electronic mind meld, taking the listener on a rich and rewarding musical journey. Organic instruments are married to a computer-based bed of lush layered sounds. Intangible emotion is summoned from synthesised sounds. Sampled soundbites and snippets of dialogue are contextually redefined. No more than an assembly of simple sonic elements, no less than an ultimately unique and personal musical vision - this is the Paradigm Shift.

A talented, traditionally trained acoustic guitar player who has toured internationally alongside the likes of Paul Ubana Jones and Tommy Emmanuel, Rhian Sheehan was introduced to the limitless possibilities of computer-based music making whilst studying composition at Canterbury University. Rhian's earliest tracks, recorded at his Christchurch home, focussed on acoustic guitar playing, but the added expressiveness and emotional impact of the instrument when coupled with electronically generated beats and soundscapes soon became the basis for a new sound.

A shift to Wellington early in 2000 opened new opportunities for Rhian - the public were introduced to his music through the inclusion of two songs ("She Walks Into Mine" and "Garden Children") on LOOP Magazine's cover CD, and the relationship with LOOP was solidified early in 2001 with the offer of an album deal from their newly formed independent record label LOOP Recordings Aot(ear)oa.

Released in June 2001, Rhian's debut album Paradigm Shift offers an all-encompassing overview of his broad musical vision, venturing from unaccompanied acoustic guitar tracks to lush, intricately arranged soundscapes featuring guest musicians from leading New Zealand groups TrinityRoots, Fat Freddy's Drop and Shapeshifter. Its vocal tracks, collaborations with vocalist Hartley and all female Christchurch hip hop group Sheelahroc, were both b.net radio hits, with "Waiting" (which made number 6 on Wellington station Radio Active's Top 50 songs of 2001) also crossing over to commercial radio after inclusion on New Zealand On Air's "Heatseeker" Indie Hit Disc.

Music media also acclaimed the album (see below), and tracks from Paradigm Shift were licensed by Saatchi & Saatchi for the latest Telecom TV and radio campaign. Paradigm Shift was picked as Kiwi Album Of The Year in 2001 by Evening Post critic Colin Morris, and was a finalist in both the Best Electronica category of the mainstream 2002 New Zealand Music Awards and the Best Electronic Release category of the underground 2002 b.net New Zealand Music Awards.


Reviews of Paradigm Shift:

"Rhian Sheehan, with his seemlessly constructed Paradigm Shift, easily made Kiwi album of the year." - Evening Post

"Rhian Sheehan's fusion of organic, evolved musical styles has resulted in a truly rich, sweet album full of movement and depth. Paradigm Shift is a very special album, one that reflects the spirit of Aotearoa and our unique connection to this beautiful land." - The Press

"Sheehan's philosophy of technological production inspired by nature and the organism, could not - in my humble opinion - have been accomplished with more class or clarity." - Real Groove

"Each track is filled with the complex detail of chopped up samples, lush digital effects, mega delays, and sounds spreading across the stereoscape. There's a level of richness in the composition - the afterthought of "Air On A Bass String" and the cascading, flowing textures of "Synthetic City" help the listener engage in this immersive journey. From start to finish, an excellent album." - The Package

"Not reliant on the shimmery and bombastic elements of dance music, nor ham-fisted happy with sampling or loops, Sheehan stands alone with his flair for understatement and simplistic evocation with this offering, Paradigm Shift." - Craccum

"A deft user, some might say master, of the sample... Sheehan is a musical master crafter." - nzoom.com