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20 May 13
Played by: Homegroove Project, Juno Recommends Drum & Bass, Juno Recommends Dubstep, Fade, Philth, John Rolodex
Review: If you judge a producer by their ability to successfully apply a winning formula to a variety of styles, Alix Perez is a master. While drum and bass remains his forte, there's enough on Chroma Chords, his second album, to suggest that he's growing as a producer. This EP discards with the synth-laden head nodders featured on the full album, though the four tracks here do still demonstrate the versatile nature of Chroma Chords. Thus the grimy hip hop of the Metropolis featuring "Blue Print" shares space with the soulful stepping action of "Playing Games" whilst the the excellent vintage Timbaaland does halfstep of "Shadows" (featuring breakout Eglo talent Strange U") joins up with the vicious "Burnout".
25 Feb 13
Review: After a heartfelt debut on Mister Saturday Night, Archie Pelago return with further adventures in instrumentation and modern beats, this time for Brighton's Well Rounded posse. "Subway Gothic" starts off in breezy tones, feeding snatches of saxophone, guitar, vocal and more into a dextrous beat pattern and smoothing it out with a melodic warmth, but there's surprises to be had, not least in the orchestral squall of the breakdown and the percussive intensity of the drop. "Ladymarkers" is a more subdued affair, riding a slow, broken house beat and letting those fragments of real-world musicality nip and dart around the groove with a free-flowing, jazz informed energy.
06 Aug 12
Review: "He'd rob his own gran" says Ten Thousand Yen in the press release for this long awaited drop from Mickey Pearce. Although we can't verify on the sociopathic tendencies (or otherwise) of Mr Pearce, we can say that "Tempted (F+ck Tonto edit)" is even ruder than his recent Swamp81 missive, hitting hard in the rhythm department and coming complete with one of the best one note melodies of the year so far. "Softly, Softly" on the other hand is a slowed down percussive workout with subtle Afropop undertones but no less ferocious. Big stuff indeed.
07 Jan 13
Played by: Ya Dun Know, Mat Cant, Sharkslayer, Juno Recommends Uk Funky/Garage, Lucent, Cosby (Car Crash Set)
Review: Stepping up to the raucous surroundings of Unknown To The Unknown, Palace comes bringing the right kind of bass-laden swagger you expect from this ever-strengthening imprint. "Trust" is a monster, led by a coarse garage drum jive and a b-line cheeky enough to get every wallflower within fifty metres shucking. There's no doubting the instantaneous results this banger will bring, and the remixes are no shirkers either. Matrixxman cools the heat slightly with a mildly stripped variation on the original's driving theme, while the Mista Men opt instead to bring a seriously funky house shuffle to bear on the bin-bothering party antics.
22 Oct 12
Review: Pale is a young Manchester producer who by day goes by the less exotic moniker of Leo Marcus. The exoticisms stay in the music though, with "Catacombs" being a widescreen vision of a thing that begins with deep beats before expanding into a multi-layered, glacial soundscape. "Oak Music' features an intense, pulsating techno bassline wrapped in ghostly chimes, before the pace mellows with the downtempo funk of "Orchidea".
10 Sep 12
Review: Pale is acclaimed Northern producer who makes anti-bland downtempo music. New single "Silverstair" is floaty and gentle without ever being brittle or fey. Building from hushed electronic whispers, the track slowly flowers into an arrpeggiated anthem. Remixes come from his pals (apparently) and first up is 5kin and Bone5 who strip the track down to a sparse landscape full of off-beats and occasional bass wobbles. Kahwe opts for a more maximal approach: adding 4/4 drums, big hi-hats, trancey pads and an epic breakdown.
20 May 13
Review: Crisp, on point production meets lo-fi aesthetics in "Half Out", the first track on this two sider by Manchester-based techno/house rising star Paleman. Simple and emotive, his influences clearly come from the garage and deep house section of the record store, and for that there's a real depth to his sound. "Etch" is a slightly more flamboyant affair - if there ever was such a word in Paleman's vocabulary - with bruising techno kicks underpinning a series of percussive sections and a seriously addictive bassline. If this tune isn't gracing the pinnacle of the night in your local discotheque, you're going to the wrong places, mate.
30 Apr 13
Review: The eleventh release for UK future bass imprint Prospekt is helmed by Pan, who delivers one serious double whammy of an EP. "E11" is a ferocious slice of DnB - cold, clean and menacing. The other blow is a deceptively softer one, with "Mute" being a downtempo piece, but still with precision mechanical beats: perfect for Sunday afternoon sessions.
18 Mar 13
Review: Not to be confused with the Parisian indie band of the same name, this Panda is a hotly-tipped bass trio from the UK. Not much is known about them other than their few releases have already garnered support from the likes of Groove Armada and MJ Cole. Not a bad start indeed, so with the music left to do the talking let's hear what it has to say: "Foolish" is cool and crystalline house music disguised as warped 90s RnB with a catchy pitched (up, down and sideways!) vocal. "All That I Can Give" keeps the soulful vocals but is a more straight up garagey house number that boasts plenty of swishes and light key stabs.
12 Sep 11
Played by: DJ Cable, Dubstepforum.com, Juno Recommends Dubstep, Bunny On Acid, Breakbeat.is, Junoplus
Review: Pangaea is perhaps the least feted of the Hessle Audio triumvate, given Ben UFO's status as one of the best selectors in the game and David Kennedy's all conquering cross label endeavours. That's no smear on his talent at production however, which most recently saw him contribute a highlight of that excellent Hessle compilation 116 & Rising. Further attempts to redress the balance in his favour are most certainly successful on this, his debut on Untold's Hemlock imprint with two jerking darkside manoeuvres. Described to a tee as the "spirit of 92? via Plastic People", lead track "Hex" burrows a similar path to "Runout", Pangaea's contribution to the aforementioned Hessle compilation. Its release will no doubt please attentive listeners of Rinse FM as it's been soundtracking many a show in recent months. "Fatalist" screwballs even further into rave dementia, as cockney gasps of "Alright? Listen. Listen. Listen" preface the descent into abrasive tones and jerkily nervous percussion.
28 Feb 11
Review: Now if there's a name that is on pretty much every bass music fan's lips at the moment, it's that of Hessle Audio. Home to the ineffable Ramadanman (a.k.a Pearson Sound), who heads up the label, alongside Ben UFO and Pangaea himself, the label cemented its reputation as one of the leading lights in UK bass music throughout 2010 and continues to do so in 2011. Pangaea, otherwise known as Kevin McAuley, clearly leads by example, masterfully blending dubstep, house, techno, dark electronica and all shades of bass music to widespread critical acclaim. "Inna Daze", to us at least, immediately conjures images of reggae-laced jungle riddims, and there is a slight hint of that in the echoing SFX, hollow drum kicks and flummoxing chirrups of the intro. The tribal pattering, anguished yelps and distant wailing atmospheric tones send you deep into another head space. Up next, Pangaea tunes in to an altogether different vibe in "Won't Hurt". A tense intro is filled with primeval humming and speaker-shattering sub bass. After a full two minutes, slightly discordant, strained strings herald a progression into amore explorative passage before it falls back into the bass heavy section, rumbling away beautifully. This is a sterling release from Pangaea which once again affirms his considerable credentials as a producer.
25 Jan 10
29 Oct 12
Review: As one third of the Hessle Audio triumvirate, Kevin McAuley - better known as Pangaea - has been responsible for some of the label's best releases. The eight track Release represents his most potent statement to date; continuing the rolling pirate radio techno direction he started with last year's Hex and Inna Daze EPs. Beginning with the Missy Elliot sampling "Game", he sets out the stall for the rest of the EP, a combination of tough, steeled-up steppers rhythms and dub techno textures. Whether listening to the abstract melodies of the title track, the blistering pace of the searing "Majestic 12" or the broken garage of Middleman, its clear that Pangaea is still light years ahead of the competition.
13 May 13
17 Jun 12
Review: Returning after an excursion into the world of techno with Blawan as Karenn, Pariah returns with his first solo record since 2010's Safehouses, and it's probably his most assured work yet. "Rift" provides some spectral 2-step, but rather than the Burial school of thinking Pariah goes deep into smoggy industrial territory, accented by dramatic strings and tunnelling bass. "Signal Loss" meanwhile is a melancholic piece of woodblock driven, ghostly R&B, but "Among Those Metal Trees" is the most affecting of the lot, a beatless soundscape shrouded in a grey warmth.
10 Jun 13
Played by: Cosby (Car Crash Set)
14 May 12
Review: Two UK bass producers unite on this very tasty release from 877, with Pasteman and Tanka nailing it on the arpeggio-fest "Camaro" - which balances an echo soundscape with some truly booty-spanking Addison Groove-esque 808 work - and the more murky dub-house of "Torino".
22 Nov 10
Review: It's fair to say that Leeds via London Hessle Audio co-founder David Kennedy has had a pretty outstanding year. Earning the respect and admiration of every DJ and tastemaker worth their salt, plus a legion of loyal followers, twenty one year old Pearson Sound (aka Ramadanman) has blown the music industry away with his sophisticated production, devastating DJ sets and creative prowess. And make no mistake, his next release on the Hessle imprint is no exception to the rule. For anyone who heard Kennedy on Benji B's Radio One show a few weeks back, you will know of his current interest in Chicago Juke, and it is from this sonic palette that he paints his picture here. A gorgeous, hazy atmospheric intro with shimmering glow grows as the beats begin to patter with increasing insistence in "Blanked". Building the atmosphere like a master craftsman, he sculpts and moulds the sounds around one another adeptly, like a potter working clay, or an artist sketching a drawing. It's a hard act to follow, but "Blue Eyes" manages it. Tuning into a less brooding sensibility, Kennedy lets the tension build in gently nudging, hissing intro before flurrying bleepy ripples reign free with cooing female vox. These chirrups are no sooner articulated then they are drowned out and disappear; the ticking beats and percussion return to the fore, but then again, teasingly, the vocals return, only to be towed away on a tidal wave of melancholy synth work and sobriety.
10 Sep 12
Review: Pearson Sound makes his long-awaited return to Hessle Audio, and his first material for the label since his contribution to last ear's 116 & Rising compilation. Although his recent self released missive "Untitled" proved a welcome distraction it's clear that this release marks the next stage in whichever the producer may be heading. Eschewing the housier tones of the past few years of productions, Kennedy takes things back to basics, exploring the stripped back sounds of early instrumental grime. "Clutch" is as mechanical as its name suggests, combining thumping kicks and sharp-focus percussion with a sensibility not a million miles away from A Made Up Sound's right-angled techno. On the flip, "Underdog" is a cavernous stop-start DJ tool filled with glassy textures and high-voltage bass, while "Piston" is a schizophrenic battery of stuttering snares and contrasting melodic textures that are frankly difficult to wrap your head around.
20 May 13
Played by: Allmostt
Review: Pearson Sound's last EP, Clutch, saw the producer delve into considerably more experimental territory than previous releases with three stripped back, grime-influenced productions that travelled into the realms of abstraction. REM, released on the producer's own imprint, sees Pearson Sound continue to develop this approach with four similarly essential tracks from the Hessle Audio man; the title track provides an atmospheric combination of cubist rhythm structures and raw tones, while "Gridlock" builds layers of D&B-like percussion over regular sub bass intervals. "Figment" meanwhile is almost Actress-like in its understated beauty; only "Crimson (Beat Mix)" is most recognisably Kennedy's work, thanks to its clattering filtered snares which swim in a soup of tripped out reverb and melancholy chords.
02 Apr 12
Review: David Kennedy returns with his first original productions since that Maurice Donovan white label a few months ago, and feverish followers of those cultural barometers Rinse FM and Boiler Room will recognise the material here; "Untitled" first surfaced on the Hessle Audio Boiler Room takeover in May last year. Released with little concession to prior fanfare - a simple tweet notifying a baying public (and internet) of its imminent release, this single-track release sees Pearson Sound continue to develop into a finely tuned, tautly rhythmic house sound that undoubtedly pays concession to his production heroes.
20 Nov 12
Played by: Simon/Off
Review: This guy is an 18 year-old producer from London, literally bursting with ideas. This is his latest EP and features a disparate range of influences over its three original songs. Opener "Swap Numbers" is an infectious slice of quirky beats that flower into a super-catchy tropical garage joint in the middle. "Coolant" features stop-start beats and an escalating melodic bassline, "Touch Me" is a dubsteppy, almost hip-hop affair that makes a few playful nods towards retro rave. Also Kon reworks the title track in a hypey, tropical-bass stylee.
27 Nov 12
Review: This chap originally hails from Portugal but has lived in Iceland for ages. It kinds of sums up his sound too, as his productions are hot blooded but executed with an icy cool. There's nothing to fault here on these two tracks - "Calia" packs some serious bass and partners it with crisp, clicky beats, while "Romario's Theme" is a slick slice of anthemic tropical bass. Classy!
13 May 13
Review: It's been three years since Peverelist released anything on his own Punch Drunk label; of late his productions have come out primarily on the Livity Sound imprint he runs with Kowton and Asusu, or on Hessle Audio. Here he returns to Punch Drunk in triumphant form, using the truncated Pev name to drop two versions with fellow Bristolian Jacob Martin, best known for his solo productions as Hodge, and his work as one half of Idle Hands house duo Outboxx. Entitled Bells, the single sees two takes on the same track; given both Martin's house credentials and Ford's dubstep past and recent forays into slower rhythmic terrain it's no surprise that both tracks are steady, mid-tempo house imbued with Bristol's bass-weight heritage. "Bells (System Mix)" employs syncopated kicks and dub chords over its tunnelling bass, while "Bells (Dream Sequence)" is a more linear Chicago-inspired house cut with distant chimes and abstract synth textures, sounding not unlike some of the dreamier fare released on MOS Recordings.
11 Feb 13
Review: The first release of the year for Hessle Audio sees the long-awaited release of "Raw Code", a live favourite of the sets Peverelist and Kowton perform with fellow Bristolian Asusu as part of Livity Sound. It's been high on the request line for some time, having featured in acetate form on mixes dating as far back as the label showcase for Benji B's Radio 1 show from February of last year, securing it a place on Ben UFO's recent Fabriclive mix. The lead track sports the kind of instantly recognisable string bursts that have characterised Kowton's recent crop of grime influenced techno productions, together with a bouncy yet mechanical groove dominated by weighty sub bass. It comes backed with "Junked", a slower, decidedly more broken production reminiscent of the experimental rhythm tracks present on Pearson Sound's Clutch EP released last year. Essential.
04 Apr 11
Review: A long overdue debut on the imperious Hessle Audio for Peverelist! The Bristol lynchpin's keen eye for home grown talent has ensured Punch Drunk a place amidst the dubstep cognoscenti, whilst his own output has played a crucial part in the rise of dubstep's genre-disregarding second wave. This fact is displayed with expertise on "Dance Till The Police Come" with raved up stabs dropping rhythmic intent on a rasping tech step thrust. It's the misty swathes of introspective synths that make this special though. "Fundamentals" is a more abstract jam, with swathes of futuristic melodic touches wavering in the background as melancholic organs fill the spaces between off key syncopation. Typical innovation from all involved.
19 Nov 12
Review: Ben Pooley aka Phat Chex joins the Apple Pips roster with the two track Can't Stop EP, with the title track a rugged mix of sparse, steppy beats and icy synths that gradually builds into a roller that wouldn't sound out of place on the B-Side of a Sunklo 12". "Git Da Funk" is is similar in hue but retains a steadier 4/4 pulse, with clanking chord stabs giving the track an atmosphere of pregnant doom.
30 Nov 12
15 Dec 11
12 Mar 12
Review: Whilst they occupy different eras in the hardcore continuum, little more needs to be said about either Pinch or Photek. What is certain is both individuals share a precision understanding of rhythmic structure and programming that makes the prospect of collaborations a mouth watering one to say the least. Undoubtedly borne out of the working relationship that began with Photek's debut on Tectonic last year, the Pinch dubplate version of "Acid Reign" is a lurching, acid drenched half step terroriser that will be familiar to fans of Pinch's all conquering Fabric mix. The flipside flex "M25FM" undoubtedly pays homage to Photek's formative years glued to the speakers taking in the sounds of pirate radio, adopting a housier poise that prick the radars of Boddika fans.
20 Aug 11
Review: This release sees Jackmaster's always on-point Numbers label with their first reissue, and they've pulled off something quite special with this reissue of Pierre's Pfantasy Club's seminal "Mystery Girl (Set Me Free)". It's a full on piece of vintage analogue 303 jack, characterised by its synthesised slap bass and catchy-as-hell vocal. Considering this is vintage acid house, the 303 line is actually quite restrained, only drifting in briefly, but is made no less furious by the cut up vocals that see the track out. Up next, Numbers employ veteran UK producer Seiji to provide a "Bassrub" of the track. It's actually incredibly sensitive to the original, letting it do its own thing for the most part, forgoing his usual funky tempos, but cutting the vocals up further and adding some devastating subs that will blow out bass-bins everywhere.