In recent years David Kennedy has been one of the most talked about names in electronic music. While no small part of this is due to the quality of his releases and club performances, not to mention the essential listening of his Fabriclive album, the reason the man known as Pearson Sound attracts so many column inches is his ability to continually push his productions into new territory. As he returns to his own label with ‘Clutch’, the next step in this evolution, the Hessle Audio co-owner turns his mastery of drum programming and rhythmic interplay to create a stripped out incarnation of instrumental grime.
The opening to ‘Clutch’ is like a darkly mechanical snippet from Stomp with its cyclical knocks and claps that build into a faltering rhythm. Lengthy runs of pattering synths contrast with this disjointed flow by offering only slight changes in intonation as they steadily wind up the tension, the juxtaposing sides messing with your head as you try to figure our whether you want to dance or not while your body gets on with popping like a madman.
‘Underdog’ again plays with variations within a tightly recurring arrangement. Here the drum pattern is less disjointed and more dramatic, setting the listener up in a recognisable form of hit, hit, hit, space, before drawing impact from clever variations in the sounds used. Allowing the structure to do the work, the occasional switch up from kick drums to 808’s or clipped bass echoes into warped pulses are transformed into gilt edged moments that your ears will gobble up as eagerly as the most protracted and teased of drops you might find elsewhere.
‘Piston’ closes the show with the first signs of harmonic accompaniment, although the hint of melody that comes with soothing notes that ripple through and flitter into the background is balanced with a stringently relentless beat that claps and rattles with minimal deviation from start to finish.
Kennedy’s insatiably curious talents on the drum machine have taken yet another step forward to find original ground, and with the percussive elements laid bare and complimented only by the odd eerie incidentals, he provides a signature master class in how to achieve great things with very little.