When i met with UK producer and DJ Ramadanman / Pearson Sound, on his Australian tour last year, what struck me was his deference to bass music culture as something that should be left free and foot stomping. Audibly in tune with this encounter is his forward thinking and rolling dance-floor mix for Fabriclive 56.
The 30-track mix delivers a crucial selection embracing rhythms from the Shangaan dance of Tiyiselani Vomaseve to the percussive experiments of London based Die Barbie Musik Kollektive. Other highlights come from illustrious producers like Burial, Mala, Carl Craig, and MJ Cole as well as a number of tunes from Kennedy’s different monikers. Following a deluge of 12″s released last year on game-changing labels like Swamp 81, Hemlock, Aus, Applepips and Soul Jazz, roughly a third of the tracks in the mix are Kennedy’s own productions. The mix also boasts a number of previously unreleased tracks from Joy Orbison, J Kenzo, Pangaea and Addison Groove that illustrate the latest crossbreeds of house, dubstep, garage and juke.
Kicking the mix off with the impending urgency of his own Pearson Sound track Hawker, Kennedy eases into the hand clapping grooves of Levon Vincent’s Late Night Jam and then slides into the dream like melodies of Elgato’s Music. Things soon begin to heat up African style with the feel good vocals of Tiyiselani Vomaseve and tribal percussion of another Pearson Sound beat Wad. Kennedy then quickly migrates the mix into traditional UK club territory with anthem’s from Julio Bashmore and a number of his own techno and juke driven tunes, followed by the knee jerking UK Funky rhythms of J Kenzo and a Lil Silva Dub of Fugative.
In a display of masterful discipline, Kennedy avoids boiling over the funky tip and provides a psychological breather with the Detroit sounds of Demons by A Made Up Sound and Inna Daze by Pangea. Kennedy uses such transitions skillfully to his advantage by not over indulging the denser dubs, favouring his techno and house tendencies to blow away any induced trances with an all out banger. You can particularly hear this around his mix of Pinch’s Qawwali where, if Kennedy was one for big rewinds, the Joy Orbison vs Ramadanman tune J. Doe Them, or later on Girl Unit’s IRL would certainly be spinning backwards for a live crowd.
A regular at Fabric, Ramadanman’s live mixes have the ability to make older tunes sound fresh and new anthems appear unexpected, as they are fluidly teased and pushed into the mix. As Kennedy explains, his Fabriclive mix is, “all very much live mixing – no time stretching or auto beat matching … and is representative of a set I would play in a club.” Indeed, every crossfade works to stimulate a different neuron or tweak a new muscle. His obsession with finely cured beat programming, stabbing basslines and melodic synths are front and centre, as is a lasting affinity for dubstep. “Even though I don’t play much stuff at 140bpm these days, I always like to end up at that tempo as that is the music that got me to where I am.”
Review by: Sean Taylor