6 may 2010
lbl: Hessle Audio
note: "Hessle Audio has made its name on its stable of garage / dubstep artists that lean heavily on the former half of that designation, boasting names such as Pangaea, Untold, Ramadanman and TRG, names that I admittedly have had trouble engaging in the past. This week sees Hessle releasing a 12" by mysterious producer Blawan, an anonymous DJ. There seem to be more and more of those these days - Burial attempted to stay anonymous for awhile, Zomby's a prominent producer that's currently behind a mask - and there's something to be said about how it's a reaction to the "celebrification" of dance music and DJ culture that even fans of awful, awful trance music dislike. There's probably a blog post to be written about that. I'm pretty sure there have been several. I think I may have read about it in some prominent net rag, so I'm not going to go into it.
But it serves a practical purpose, this anonymity, does it not? A prominent DJ can release new songs and not have them be tested against his other material. When we get something like Fram / Iddy, we can only really engage the music on its own terms (you might be able to compare it to other Hessle Audio releases, but I'm not prepared to do that).
So yes, this is "post-garage", or "future garage", or whatever you want to call it. "Fram" leads off the single with understated bass (at least, compared to most dubstep these days) and queasy, gloomy techno synths lurching and slithering around its propulsive garage rhythm, a barely audible whisper sample looping throughout. Halfway into the song the synth moves a bit farther to the front of the mix and gets a little more elastic, pulsing and inflating and deflating. It's dark and weird, and you can dance to it. Naturally, I love it.
"Iddy", the b-side, starts off with barebones percussion clicking away while a gloomy organ sound creeps up, but it's a fake-out - the rhythm kicks in, and can I just say how much I love the sound of the kits on this track? It's the best, most dynamic and funky use of minimal drum sounds I've heard in some months, a standard to which so many so-called Garage acts seem to be incapable of meeting. I was sold on the song before Blawan's techno/jungle synths made their appearance, rising and falling like the call of some strange bird and forming a simple chord melody towards the end of the song.
Aren't the greatest entertainments the surprises? Hessle Audio is an imprint I have a lot of respect for even if their releases aren't the ones I immediately gravitate towards when I'm sitting down next to my turntable. A few more releases like this and I might have to rethink the distance to which I hold them. Sublime stuff." - description found on the pop stalinist.
potężna fuzja specyfiki hessle audio i kaskaderskich ewolucji perkusyjnych.
buy it here.
[Phonica Records, £ 5.99]