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A Magazine for Sheffield


Hessle Audio have long since released EPs from as-yet unknown artists. Their debuts have included producers like Blawan, Pearson Sound, Pangaea, TRG, Joe, Untold and Elgato, as well as hosting James Blake's second ever release, so it's always worth taking note when Hessle decide to introduce another newcomer.

The imprint's strong point is its skill at showcasing music which can't be pigeonholed. I'm sure in 6 months' time there will be another ridiculous sub-genre thrown about, but Hessle always manages to surface releases long before someone has tried to associate them with the newest micro-genre, as evidenced by Untold's reinterpretation of UK club music in 2010 and TRG's 'Broken Heart' in 2007. Most recently Blawan's fresh take on techno has proven inspirational for many artists in this field and helped sustain Hessle's relevancy.

The most recent offering is Bandshell. The fact that this sounds like a Hessle release is quite an achievement for a label that manages to avoid classification of the sound it promotes.

Bandshell follows this undefined rule by including elements of techno in the arrangement and minimalist approach of these 4 tracks. The structure of 'Dust March' features dub influenced delayed drum hits and bass weight. 'Rise Em' features a very minimal arrangement with the driving force of the rhythm being the low bassline and UK Garage percussion pattern, although it includes almost no melody whatsoever. It is a definite DJ tool in a similar way to recent tracks by Objekt.

Although not my favourite Hessle release, I really appreciate that the arrangements, which are absent of anything but the bare essentials, still have drive and a club-ready feel to them. Not an easy achievement in an age where a wealth of computing power and cracked software is available to any bedroom producer. This fact often leads to producers succumbing to the temptation of going overboard, so it takes a keen ear and strong creative direction to avoid adding unnecessary layers.

'Dog Sweater' is my personal favourite and a track seemingly made for pirate radio. It reminds me of Dusk & Blackdown's best work with its spoken sample, and Sheffield talent Beneath due to the space left in the mix for hefty low end.

Thanks Hessle, once again, for debuting yet another truly individual artist.