Joe – ‘Slope / Maximum Busy Muscle’ (Hessle Audio)

Hessle Audio issue their second release of the year following Pev & Kowton’s muscled ‘Raw Code’ package from February, calling upon on one of their roster’s more inimitable talents. A young producer with an inclination for organic fluidity rather than overtly-quantised rigidity, Joe has always managed to inject more than a fair dose of the human into his machine music, from the broken percussionist workouts of his debut ‘Grimelight / Rut’ in 2009, through to his last exploits on Jack ‘Untold’ Dunning and Andy Spencer’s Hemlock imprint.

It’s this more recent foray into stripped dancefloor sounds that this latest Hessle offering most closely resembles, as we’re treated to two differing takes on skewed house and techno refractions. A-side ‘Slope’ begins with rustling percussion, looped vocal patterns and a dubwise bass refrain, before a creeping mesh of woodwind noise and strings lead into a delicately exposed breakdown. With recent talk of “outsider house” and the slow conquering of the underground by Ron Morelli’s much-loved L.I.E.S. gang, ‘Slope’s muffled kicks and muddied found sound come across as a cleaner, more immediate take on Huerco S’s recent transmissions.

On the flip, ‘Maximum Busy Muscle’ befits its title with undoubtedly the keenest, roughest thing to come out of the Joe studio. Never one to shy away from a live drum sound, the drum fills and various edits on offer are exemplary, as a straight 4/4 kick is overlaid with reversed, mutated brass stabs and aquatic bass rumblings. Things start to go full on jazz-rave around the two minute mark as the whole thing unwinds into a tumbling warehouse smasher that’s one part follow up to Randomer’s ‘Real Talk’ to two parts New Orleans big band.

Eventually burning out into a sharp mess of vinyl crackle and deadened drums, ‘Slope / Maximum Busy Muscle’ is a welcome return that fuses up to the minute house and techno mutations with a keen dose of ghostly, drunken jazz. A bit bonkers basically.

‘Slope / Maximum Busy Muscle’ is released via Hessle Audio on 21st October.

Louis Cook

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