Absofacto Introduces New Project NITESHIFT with a Crash Course Playlist

Jonathan Visger’s latest chapter incorporates a multimedia approach to vintage horror aesthetics.

Absofacto Introduces New Project NITESHIFT with a Crash Course Playlist

Jonathan Visger’s latest chapter incorporates a multimedia approach to vintage horror aesthetics.

Words: Kim March

March 30, 2023

Jonathan Visger has been releasing music in some form or another at least as far back as two decades ago, when his indie-pop outfit Mason Proper ascended out of Ann Arbor’s local scene. It’s been a steady evolution for Visger since then, with his solo synthpop project Absofacto garnering plenty of attention since his 2011 debut under the moniker, slowly escalating to the viral appeal of 2015’s “Dissolve.”

But despite achieving that level of acclaim under the name, his next chapter sees Visger shedding that skin and expanding his creative repertoire with a full-on multimedia project under the name NITESHIFT, ambitiously looking to recreate the textures of ’70s and ’80s horror cinema through the language of ambient pop and beyond. “NITESHIFT is a shared, collaborative, creative storytelling universe spanning across music, television, film, video games, and comics,” Visger shares. “I’ll be building and presenting it for the rest of my life.” 

The new project was recently introduced with the debut single “Unquit You” and its vibrant music video, briefly spelling out the visual and sonic universe NITESHIFT will come to inhabit. Yet to give us a better sense of which elements of his past work will carry over to his forthcoming Firecracker EP and future output under the new moniker, Visger compiled a tracklist outlining the groundwork for the project. “This playlist is a quick crash course on some of the music that preceded it and stories that will be adopted in the future,” he explains. “Give it a listen, read about each track, and you’ll start to feel the world and ethos behind what’s coming.”

Stream it and read along below.

NITESHIFT, “Unquit You” 
This is the latest release in the NITESHIFT universe—part three of my upcoming Firecracker EP. It’s not only one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made, but the video (by my favorite director in the world, Jacqueline Kulla) is one of the most important glimpses into the story world of NITESHIFT so far. It introduces the character of an obsessed painter as she spirals deeper and deeper into her work. Life sneaks up on her when she least expects it, and what first manifests as a small ant problem completely becomes her entire reality by the end. Jacqueline brilliantly uses the visual language of classic ’70s [and ’80s] horror like The Shining to tell a story that’s ultimately about emotion, not terror.

NITESHIFT, feat. love-sadKID & Limbo, “Vibe ’til I Die” 
“Vibe” was the first real introduction to NITESHIFT, Firecracker Part 1. For a long time I felt like things were getting in the way of my creative process, and the song was written in reaction to that. I told myself, “I’m just going to sit in my bedroom and have fun making a song I truly want to hear, and then I’m going to fight for it to come out exactly the way I want.” The song embodies that energy, and the cinematic video (again directed by Jacqueline Kulla) expresses the story behind facing your fear of the unknown directly, as a woman riding her bike into a dangerous storm is struck by lightning and wakes up in a state of existence halfway between life and death.

Hollow & Akimbo, “Lucky Stars” 
One of the coolest things about NITESHIFT is that the creative universe has already existed behind my music for many years, even spanning to my older bands. “Lucky Stars” is one of my personal favorites I’ve ever made, and in the coming year we’ll get to know more about the story as it’s adopted officially into NITESHIFT. Prepare for some deep-space existential horror with this one, following an astronaut on a one-way trip into the unknown.

Absofacto, “History Books” 
A fan-favorite from my fully independent days, this is another song that will join NITESHIFT officially in the months to come. The winding lyric—alluding to Lovecraft-esque horror, but in a poignant, comedic context—perfectly expresses one of the key aesthetic playgrounds of the universe.

modernPPL, “igloo.eyes 002” 
People who have seen me play live in the last year have heard this song from the completely underground modernPPL project, but let me be the first to say it here: new modernPPL factors heavily into the next stage of the story of NITESHIFT. It’s the first example of an artist that’s fully a character within the universe—in this case a mysterious, unknowable biohacking group that we’ll learn more about as the story evolves. The musical representation of it is some of the most original, out-there electronic music on the planet. modernPPL is the work of Mike Higgins, who also was the drummer for Hollow & Akimbo.

Hollow & Akimbo, “Fever Dreams”
Another previous release that will be adopted into the universe, this is a one-of-a-kind standout that exemplifies the abstract, unexpected storytelling of the NITESHIFT universe. The song gives a voice to raw oil, and allows it to speak while it’s converted into a commodity and burned on the altar of capitalism. I’d like to add that my bandmate in Hollow & Akimbo, Brian Konicek, is making the most beautiful noir-esque music for NITESHIFT now, and I can’t wait to share his new work with you.

Absofacto, “Someone Else’s Dream” (slenderbodies Remix) 
“Someone Else’s Dream” will be getting a new video that incorporates it into NITESHIFT, but the version that most exemplifies the aesthetic to me is actually slenderbodies’ incredible remix. The vibe just fits.

Absofacto, “Synthesocietal” 
Another fan favorite from my pre-label days, this tells the story of an underground cult society standing opposed to a force above ground. I cannot wait to pull this officially into NITESHIFT by telling more of that story in video and comics.

Absofacto, “On a Ladder Leading Nowhere” 
You can imagine the visual now: This song expresses the story of an entirely literal climb on an infinite ladder into space, where ultimately I run out of energy and fall back to earth. An extremely NITESHIFT-style story if I ever heard one.

Absofacto, “Dissolve” (Extended)
Everyone knows this song. The truth is, there would be no NITESHIFT without it, so it deserves its place here. But I want to include the original extended version. Who knew that a song I made in my basement as an unknown artist would explode into an entire creative universe seven years later, and change my life forever? Thank you, “Dissolve,” and thank you to everyone who made this thing go platinum and touch so many people’s ears and hearts.

Empty Speech Bubble, “Reluctant Star” 
Let’s close out with a wildcard from my dear friend Brandon Sciarotta. NITESHIFT is, above all, a collaborative project, and Brandon has generously helped me from day one in building the community. He’s an absolute gem of a human, and while we’re primarily working on the future NITESHIFT video game projects together, I love this beautiful ambient piece from his musical passion project.