Inwards is the alias of Kristian Shelley, a multi-instrumentalist and music programmer from Worcestershire who draws influence from the far borders of dance music, using a modular synthesiser and other electronic/acoustic instruments to create playful yet emotionally potent tracks. For Shelley, music has always fulfilled an urgent need to communicate where words fall short, and his tracks capture fleeting snapshots of an inner world.
Shelley became hooked on the cathartic and expressive power of music while channelling his creative teen years into several bands, and the compulsion has only strengthened since. On discovering electronic music (voraciously listening to Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert and other luminaries, to replace his previous obsessions with psychedelia, metal and funk), he was compelled to go it alone to express himself more fully – but he still sees his electronic instruments like bandmates who are joining him for a jam, ideas flowing back and forth in a spontaneous flurry.
Released in late April, the debut album 'Diesel' introduced experimental electronic producer Inwards in emphatic style, with a cracked, psychedelia-tinged energy and colourful sonic palette. The record pricked up the ears of tastemakers including BBC 6Music's Tom Ravenscroft, Steve Lamacq, Lauren Laverne and Don Letts; BBC Introducing (for whom he performed a live session), TRAX mag, Our Culture and Electronic Sound magazine. The “When She Flashes Her Smile On Me” single was crowned BBC 6Music Recommends Track of the Week, and has gained 270K Spotify streams. including a BBC 6Music Recommends Track of the Week, a Guest Mix for Tom Ravenscroft, heavy airplay from Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, and a live session for BBC Introducing.
Crackling with the same sense of spontaneity as his studio productions, Inwards' absorbing live shows have seen him gaining quite a reputation, playing sets alongside Forest Swords, Lapalux, Adam Betts (Three Trapped Tigers) and Tyondai Braxton (Battles) to add to headline dates and festivals including The Great Escape, Knee Deep, Nozstock and Brighton Digital Festival.
An introspective collection of psychedelic modular synth led experimentations, ‘Bright Serpent’ is the new album by Kristian Shelley. Electronic textures and rhythms rub up against manipulated recordings of real instruments, voices and field recordings to fashion transportive snapshots of an inner sound-world.
‘Bright Serpent’ follows Inwards’ 2019 EP ‘Feelings of Unreality’, which Dummy called “blissful and mesmerizing electronic music”, and 2018 debut album ‘Diesel’ described in Electronic Sound as “a sublime listen” and Clash as “an absorbing document”. Both releases gained widespread airplay on daytime and specialist radio with distinct support from Tom Ravenscroft, Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe, John Kennedy and BBC Introducing.
Kristian is also an educator and works at Kidderminster college as a music production lecturer delivering level 4&5 (HND) courses. He is currently studying a post graduate certificate in learning and teaching in higher education at Worcester university.