Pearson Sound

Hessle Audio: 116 & Rising

Various Artists |
116 and Rising |
Hessle Audio |

Hessle Audio’s first label compilation release 116 & Rising is a timely output that places the U.K based label firmly at the head of the bass bin vanguard. Existing fans will delight in the array of old favourites amongst the 12 new tracks available on the CD version out on May 16th. Excitingly, this means new fire from Pangea, Pearson Sound, Blawan, Untold, Addision Groove, James Blake and Cosmin TRG. The first disc is all the new work while the second has a cured selection from the Hessle Audio back catalogue. The new tracks will constitute the vinyl edition of 116 & Rising which is a 12″ triple-pack with the graphic finesse on both CD and vinyl editions produced by Will Bankhead.

Founded in 2007 amidst the peak of the global dubstep movement, Hessle Audio epitomises the agency that UK bass music affords in absorbing genres from across the spectrum of electronic dance music. 116 & Rising reflects many of various blends of U.K garage and dubstep, as well as hard house and Detroit techno. It is no small feat to portray such a free and open music culture in a single compilation, yet this release does just that without losing it’s vision of the future bass underground.

Highlights include a James Blake re-edit of an earlier Hessle Audio release Give a man a rod, more in the vocal vein of his recent album. Blake’s electronic soul music, finds a unique nexus in the affected vocals, dancing cowbells, stabs of funky vibrato synth and cluttered post garage beat shuffles. Also present is Blake’s trademark organ arrangements and side-chained compression that feeds a pulsing life into the track.

Pangaea contributes significantly to the ‘core continuum’ sound of the compilation with the dread style garage raver Runout, a tune that will unite many tastes. With its jump up rhythms, catch call vocal sample, tense strings, rising rave organ synth and dub bass line, this tune is just oozing drugs. The relatively unknown artist Randomer straightens things up a bit with his serious tune Brunk; a door slamming kick drum and percussion jam with minimal accompaniment a la fellow 116 & Rising producer Untold, that would fit nicely in a DJ set just pre-peak time.

There are other tunes that are less four to the floor such as Twice, where the curious producer named Joe expounds upon the geeky producer obsession with Casio keyboard beats, typewriter hacks and marble runs. Along with its jazz cuts and what sounds like an Eddy Murphy sample (“…your getting, twice the bass”) this tune is at once accessible and experimental. However, I can’t help but feel that this superb sample find has been used on the wrong track; a producer couldn’t ask for a better vocal sample reference to bass and considering this, the tune fails to make the most of the low end.

Nevertheless, the rest of 116 & Rising is certainly more than bass abundant and features early influences on Hessle Audio such as the never before released archive cut Sub Zero by D1. These sub-bass stabs were a staple of the early DMZ raves back in 2005 and are a welcome reminder of how dubstep can be both refined and dark without getting too aggressive. Overall, Hessle Audio owners David Kennedy, Ben Thomson and Kevin McAuley have raised their best colours for this first compilation outing to successfully unite their artist roster whilst navigating the needs of both their existing and newer audiences.

Tracklist: 116 and Rising
CD 1
01. Elgato – Music (Bodymix)
02. Untold – Cool Story Bro
03. Blawan – Potchla Vee
04. Pearson Sound – Stifle
05. Joe – Twice
06. Randomer – Brunk
07. Pangaea – Runout
08. Cosmin TRG – Bijoux
09. D1 – Sub Zero
10. Addison Groove – Fuk Tha 101
11. James Blake – Give A Man A Rod (Second Version)
12. Peverelist – Sun Dance

CD 2
01. Pangaea – You & I
02. Untold – Test Signal
03. Blawan – Fram
04. James Blake – Buzzard & Kestrel
05. Untold – I Can’t Stop This Feeling
06. Joe – Rut
07. Ramadanman – Blimey
08. TRG – Put You Down
09. Joe – Level Crossing
10. Pangaea – Why
11. TRG – Broken Heart (Martyn’s DCM Remix)
12. Ramadanman – Don’t Change For Me

Pearson Sound / Ramadanman: Fabriclive 56

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.”

Pearson Sound/Ramadanman
Fabriclive 56

Review by: Sean Taylor