Without any skills of playing a guitar, Frans de Waard soon borrowed a tiny motorized device from Freek Kinkelaar (his partner in Beequeen) and repurposed it to mechanically play the strings on acoustic and electric guitars – in the manner somewhat similar to famous machine guitars of Remko Scha. Guitar sounds were further processed with various effects and layered on tape to produce a denser, textured noise ambient. The majority of tracks were based around Waard playing guitar himself, but a few pieces explored additional possibilities: on The Absent Guitarist 7" he treated and processed Roel Meelkop playing a guitar, while Love One 7" and Love Two (7" lathe cut) were created as plunderphonics experiment with guitars sampled from well-known bands. Two albums were recorded without guitars at all: Sonates & Interlude 10" on piano and One Piece For Cymbal CD-R with a single cymbal.
Even though it was always intended as a studio-only project, in 1998 Frans de Waard agreed to present Shifts material in concert. Several live performances were organized, most notably an improvised set with Zoviet France on MS Stubnitz moored in Stockholm. He also played at Extrapool in Aug 1998 and participated in (k-raa-k)³ Festival '99 at Democrazy, Gent.
In the late nineties and early 2000s, Shifts released three CD albums, several CD-Rs and limited vinyl editions through acclaimed European, American and Japanese independent labels, such as Meme, (K-RAA-K)³, BOXmedia, ERS, etc. The initial phase of the project was concluded with an epic 2xCD remix project, which contained Shifts source records recycled by Vidna Obmana and Asmus Tietchens. A couple years later, Shifts was revived with Vertonen cycle. Original seven tracks, recorded back in 1995 for a cancelled album on Freedom From label, were reworked on computer by Frans de Waard who shifted very far from a source guitar sound. These compositions were published on Vertonen 1 To 7 CD-R by Norwegian label Humbug. From 2004 to '07, he continued making new Vertonen tracks (most of them – by recycling previous Shifts recordings), ranging from full-length albums to shorter pieces. They were released on Public Eyesore, Verato Project, Beta-lactam Ring Records, The Locus Of Assemblage, and other experimental labels in UK, Europe and USA.
In 2004, Frans de Waard recorded three final pieces for Shifts project, all created on a 4-string Spanish guitar purchased for 1 euro. They were released on Branches (2006) mini CD-R by French label taâlem, and a limited edition Trees / Leaves LP on British label Entr'acte. In November 2013, a complete Vertonen cycle (consisting of 22 tracks) was published online via KormDigitaal, and soon after most Shifts albums were reissued in digital format. Lost and forgotten demo tracks from 1997 were rediscovered and released on a limited edition Fade (in) cassette by Maneki Neko Tapes in 2015.