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25 Jun 12
Played by: Wildlife!
Review: Hessle Audio's emergence from hibernation in 2012 really has seen the label release some of the most extraordinary music of its life, and this EP from Bandshell might top the lot. Tapping into the grainy, murky sound world of the like of STL, Shed and Actress, this record explores strange rhythms constantly on the verge of breaking out into a frenzy. The title track is comprised of little more than rattling percussion and dense, fizzy bass, while "Rise 'Em" places a jungle breakbeat atop a mucky hum. On the flip, "Metzger" takes the vibe of classic dubstep and fills it with subtle melodies and clipped snares, but "Dog Sweater" is the real killer - a homage to soundsystem culture whose threadbare rhythms are the only thing to stop you being dragged into the track's viscous centre. Make no mistake, this is a serious new talent.
17 May 10
Review: Hessle Audio drop two tracks from the mysterious Blawan. Rumours are hinting that this could be a moniker for another producer but for the time being, but for now we'll have to settle for playing the guessing game. We wouldn't be surprised if this was a big name producer, with the title track wonderfully twisting cold, post-garage drums into jungalist syncopations. "Iddy" on the b-side, throws up an entirely different style of percussion - pointed metal on hollow toms gives the track a disjointed but totally danceable feel.
23 Apr 12
Review: Perhaps one of the unsung heroes of the Hessle roster, Elgato's "Music (Body Mix)", a 120bpm slice of house-not-house was one of the 118 & Rising comp's highlights, and here he makes his long overdue return - and what a return it is. With a barely audible bass that nevertheless operates at an all enveloping low end frequency, "Zone" is a heady composition operating at the same tempo whose repeating, pitched down vocal snippet and threadbare rhythms recall pitched down footwork heard through a haze of weed smoke. Only marginally faster, "Luv Zombie" manages a similar feat with a similarly sparse set of tools. The increasing scourge of the bass world - the cut up R&B vocal - is here more skilfully used in the first third to coil up tension, with the bass drop coming in not with a crash but floating upwards on a funnel of warm air. Quite simply, there's nobody else doing what Elgato does - essential.
07 Jun 10
Played by: Tom Central, Bert On Beats, Juno Recommends Dubstep, Mary Ann Hobbs, Juno Download, Gilles Peterson, Wire Magazine, N-Type, Soul Mekanik, The Count & Sinden, Doc Daneeka, Mixcloud
Review: Fresh from the success of last year's sensation, "Grimelight", Joe drops his tightest syncopations yet with the excellent "Claptrap". Drawing heavily from Spanish Flamenco, the title track is an intensely clipped and arranged rhythm track using little more than speed claps, sub hits and field recordings that include claps (obviously), coughs and hiccups. It is ridiculously catchy and testament to Joe's neat skills as a producer. "Level Crossing" on the flip, slices up rattling hi-hats and more speedy rhythms as its kicks swing to and fro amongst this loopy jaunt.
13 Feb 12
Played by: Lifecycle, Scott Wilson - Juno Plus, Shadow Dancer, Juno Recommends Dubstep, Klipar, Night Tracks, Breakbeat.is, Djs: Most Charted - Dubstep
Review: Having wowed the world with his first two records, Objekt's arrival on Hessle Audio is a logical and welcome move. The wobbling bassline of "Cactus", premiered on Ben UFO's Rinse:16 mix, recalls Mala's savage productions, tweaking the oscillators just enough to make the bass scream whilst keeping things tasteful, despite its crazed metamorphosis into a raygun at the halfway point. Flipside "Porcupine" meanwhile is militant techno with all the purity and focus of Jeff Mills' best productions, a maelstrom of pummelling beats and swimming chords with a diamond-like beauty despite its pneumatic ferocity. In a word: essential.
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.
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.
03 Aug 09
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.
05 Apr 10
31 May 11
Review: Hessle present this digital set to showcase their progression as a label at the forefront of the multi faceted strands of music that have grown out of dubstep. 116 & Rising offers an array of brilliant music from Hessle mainstays like Elgato, Untold, and Jimmy Blake. In addition, the Hessle triumvate of overseers have secured exclusive material from the likes of D1 and Addison Groove - whose "Fuk Da 101" is a real treat among many highlights. Elsewhere Joe goes West LDN circa 2002 on "Twice" and Blawan serves further notice that he's got the best drum flex in the game with "Potchla Vee". Absolutely essential release.
24 May 11
UK Funky/UK Garage