Review: The Hessle Audio label celebrated a big birthday in style recently and rightly so. It has long been a pioneering outlet for always cutting-edge electronic sounds loosely couched in bass music but often involving so much more. This latest comes from Toumba who made a fine outing at the end of last year and starts 2023 on just as solid a footing. 'Istibtan' is stripped-back body music with a smattering of tin-pot percussion and dark bass. There is more broken beat work and off-grid percussive inflection to 'Petals' then 'Hazzeh' layers up tropical synth sounds into a humid club cut before closer 'Identity Crisis' offers an introspective melody and funky broken beat patterns.
Review: Backed by labels like Whities, Ilian Tape and Timedance, not to mention his 2018 BlowingUpTheWorkshop mix, the NTS radio resident and experimental club exponent Laksa finds a much deserved release for Hessle Audio. With sub-heavy drums colliding with explosive percussion and urbanite rhythms in "Belly Brocka", Laksa dips further into stormy waters with the sonic phase of "T's Tent" next to the rumble and slowed-down swagger of this single's lead track "Fire Kit". New music, new dance.
Review: Somatic is Bruce's debut album and sees the UK producer tight walk a fine line between experimental electronics and rhythm-heavy club tracks. This latter side of his work is represented on tracks like the hypnotic, vocal-sampling "Elo" that weaves its way to a tripped out climax, on the grinding, visceral "What" or on the teased out "Meek" - where Bruce uses layered percussion and textured sound scapes to deliver a slower but mesmerising effect. Elsewhere, there are dubbed out pieces like "Ore" and the funk bass and atmospheric synths of "Patience St Pim" that demonstrate Bruce is not a conventional electronic producer.
Review: As one of the most anticipated reunions in dance music, underground legend Pangaea makes a long awaited return to the goliath Hessle Audio imprint for a top draw come back two tracker. On the A-side we hear the nostalgic throws of 'Bone Sucka' which is a homage to early breakbeat creation. Through a combination of mysterious atmospheric drones and smoothly sliced break patterns we are treated to something truly special. On the flip we are back in classic Pangaea territory, as beautifully crafted techy vibes return on 'Proxy'. This one is a rise and fall journey from start to finish, bringing together off the cuff piano riffs, pounding drum arrangements and subtle subs perfectly.
Review: With just ten EPs to his credit in as many years, Joe is not the most prolific artist, but he clearly favours quality over quantity. Tail Lift is his fourth release on Hessle Audio - he debuted on the label during its early days back in 2009 - and it's as individualistic as ever. "Tail Lift" sees the UK producer combine a swinging rhythm with jazzy keys and some wild-sounding, out of tune segues. Throw in psychedelic riffs and rave whistles and you've got one of the most unusual dance floor tracks of 2017. "MPH" sees him go even weirder, with wobbly piano lines and lo-fi kazoos unravelling over mid-tempo drums. This will keep his fans content until Joe's next left of centre instalment.
Review: Ah yes, it was about time that Beatrice Dillon and Call Super got into the studio together and, quite frankly, there would be no better place to house the results that London's game-defining Hessle Audio. Both artists have been close associates of the label for some time, and this collaboration feels exactly where the imprint should be at the moment - meandering effortlessly between the more experimental side of techno, and molecular shade of bass music. "Inkjet", the A-side swelter, oozes spewing beats from all corners of its glitchy, almost minimalistic framework of grey-scaled melodies and fiery, FX-laden atmposherics. On the fip, "Fluo" is a different form of construction altogether, laying the groundwork for what could become a fruitful relationship between free jazz and UK bass, where a steady 4/4 groove is brought to life by curious harmonic blends and sporadic changes of tempo. Yes to the Hessle crew!
Review: Hessle Audio mark the first release of their 10th year in business with a label debut from one of Bristol's finest. Head of the Timedance label and events series, Batu steps up with four tracks of driving percussion and oddball atmospherics. Starting off with the offbeat sci-fi groove that is the title rack, "Off Court" soon gets into some booming lo-end dynamics, complimented by some darkly emotive synth textures. "Nosema" is the most straight ahead effort on here: a tight and rolling groove (for sweaty late night weirdness) until the lush ambient epic "Don't" closes out the EP in top style. In addition to his hot releases on Dnuos Ytivil and Fringe White in recent times: this guy's on fire!
Review: Kevin McAuley is certainly affiliated with a generation of pioneering UK Bass producers who have since moved into the techno realm. With previous releases on Hemlock, Hessle Audio and Hotflush, his origins have definitely remained a strong aspect of his style ever since. On the In Drum Play LP, he can be heard dabbling in obtuse and disjointed low end theories such as on "Bulb In Zinc" or "Let It In" while there are some inventive takes on techno; such as on the dynamic opener "Rotor Soap" or the adrenalised stomper "More Is More To Burn". For us, the highlights were "One By One" (where his take on breakbeat techno would make the likes Shed or Stenny stand up and notice) and the oddball body basher "Skips Desk".
Review: The mighty Hessle Audio delivers its' first release of 2016, and it's not from one of their established names. Instead, it marks the debut of previously unknown newcomer Ploy. The mystery artist begins with "Sala One Five", a heady, intoxicating brew seasoned with fluctuating bass, whizzing electronic stabs, steam-hammer textures and throbbing, floor-friendly percussion. Flip for the deeper, bongo-laden trip that is "Move Yourself" - all swirling, psychedelic noises, sampled tribal rhythms and deep space chords - and the Actress style, experimental electronic mechanics of "Helix". It's this track, with its' hard-to-fathom construction, befuddled textures and dream world chords, that shows the most promise.
Review: After six years spent teasing and titillating with a steady stream of high value singles, David Kennedy is finally ready to release his debut full-length under the now familiar Pearson Sound alias. The first artist album to appear on the Hessle Audio imprint he co-founded with Pangaea and Ben UFO, Pearson Sound is a surprisingly sparse and otherworldly affair. Intriguingly, Kennedy's usual twisted, dubbed-out analogue rhythms largely take a back seat, with moments of tough dancefloor abandon (see "Rubber Tree" and the tipsy "Headless") playing second fiddle to stripped-back synth-scapes and otherworldly ambience. It's striking on first listen, and only gets more impressive with repeat listens