Asusu – Velez & Rendering (Livity Sound Recordings)

The sixth release from Livity Sound, the Bristolian label & live show comprising Peverlist, Kowton, and Asusu, continues where the previous release, Peverlist’s Aztec Chant/Livity left off; with raw, zealous percussion and subtle atmospheres hinting at dub techno. Asusu’s productions have previously been described as ‘Basic Channel meets 2-step’, and his sound has developed more towards the former, with the pace slowed right down and with the broken movements of 2-step and dubstep, which characterised his earlier releases on Project Squared, leaving a fainter trace upon the two tracks here. However, only the B-side ‘Rendering’ works within such a straight techno formula, and indeed the productions of all those associated with Livity Sound are marked by more stilted rhythms than those of many UK producers operating in a similar sphere. Whilst many producers coming from a UK scene once dominated by dubstep have made the switch to techno with little trace of their previous work, the likes of Peverelist and Asusu have often eschewed techno’s 4/4 pulse, yet taken influence from the genre and blended its textures with more rhythmically intricate percussion, leaving some sort of thread with the hardcore continuum intact.

Asusu’s name may not be as widely known as his Livity Sound cohorts, but this has less to do with quality and more to do with Pev and Kowton’s more prolific outputs. The similarities between all three’s releases on the label gives the impression that as with Sandwell District, for example, each 12” represents the shared vision of each producer and is more than just a personal statement. ‘Velez’ has the same roughshod, metallic quality of his Livity Sound compatriots Pev & Kowton’s magnificent ‘Raw Code’ released earlier this year on Hessle Audio, with the percussion given centre stage and added atmospheres kept to a minimum. As with the aforementioned ‘Aztec Chant’ and ‘Raw Code’, the track has the feel of an exercise in drum machine mastery. Kowton’s productions in particular often feel like experiments in crafting raw, danceable, and propulsive tracks from a minimum of elements, and ‘Velez’ shares that trait.

‘Rendering’ on the other hand, is much cleaner, more orthodox, and more gilded than the A-side. Again, Asusu works with a limited array of sounds and privileges repetition, but the B-side is strikingly different from the reverse, and exists within the borders of the slow-burning and minimal end of the Berlin sound, rather than being grounded in the aggressive clamour of UK bass music, as ‘Velez’ is. The more melodic surfaces and softer kick drum of ‘Rendering’ hint at a possible future mutation for the label, towards and more European and deeper sound; although given Peverlist’s predilection for dub and off-kilter cadences, it seems likely Livity Sound will remain primarily an outlet for crunching, bass-heavy, quasi-industrial assaults.

Velez & Rendering is now available on Livity Sound Recordings

Rob Heath