Pearson Sound HES026

Pearson Sound – ‘HES026’ (Hessle Audio)

Hessle Audio follows a recent return to form with one of the principal players of their six-year history. Seemingly spending much of 2013 in the studio, David Kennedy touches down on his own much-respected imprint for the first time in over a year, following the tough, broken beat-leaning sounds of ‘Clutch’, with three vital cuts of grime-inflected bass works.

Opening with the subtle creeping of ‘Lola’, Kennedy melds his trademark spacious percussion and shuffling high-hats with an open-ended grime influence, creating a probing melody that would work equal wonders hovering above a pulsing heads-down basement rave as it does for standard headphone listening. As ever with a new Pearson Sound production, the devil is in the sonic detail, and it’s within the balancing act between the weighty kick drums, edited highs and thin blanket of effects that you’ll find the subtlety start to take hold.

‘Power Drumsss’ is essentially a four-minute drum-tech workout, a never-ending Shepherd tone creating an illusion of tumbling rhythmical symmetrics, combined with a proto-grime bass stab lifted straight from Agent X’s 2002 book of production. A good tool to cleanse the palate perhaps, but not nearly as arresting as sparring partner Kowton’s devastating ode to Ruff Sqwad from last year (the All Caps-released ‘TFB’).

The strongest work on offer here is saved for the flip, as ‘Starburst’ outlays the sheer amount of influences that go into the modern Hessle Audio sound. Punishing bass pulses and raggedly clipped high-hats oscillate around a repeatedly aggressive synth effect, whilst filtered jungle loops slide into the mix alongside an euphoric two note melody, turning this grime reduction into a widescreen nod to hardcore, before returning to the track’s murky grime/techno roots.

‘HES026’ may see Kennedy repeating tricks he’s used time and again, but the release is a timely reminder of just why tracks like ‘Tempest’ and previous Hessle Audio material ‘Blanked’ were just so ground-breaking in the first place. A welcome return for one of the UK’s leading lights, and a supremely focussed collection that puts Pearson Sound back on top.

‘HES026’ is released via Hessle Audio on 11th November.

Louis Cook