Hessle Audio have been at the forefront of forward-thinking British dance music since HES001 in 2007, consistently releasing music that manages to push both sonic and compositional boundaries while still fitting perfectly into the label bosses’ dancefloor-focussed DJ sets. A new Hessle Audio release is thus always a cause for celebration, particularly as 2015 brought only Pearson Sound’s eponymous debut album, which was met with a surprisingly mixed reception. The head honchos (Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangaea) put an end to our wait then with two new releases scheduled for the next two months. Just before the new Bruce record steals the limelight, the three Leeds-migos drop this killer debut from Ploy (who?) to start 2016. Indeed, the quality and variety of the three tracks presented here certainly won’t quell the rumours that this is the work of an established producer operating under a new alias.
‘Sala One Five’ is exactly the kind of tense techno you’re likely to hear Pangaea currently play out, with punishing subs and dense, anxious pads providing the foundation for a relentless forward momentum punctuated by sharp mechanical snares.
‘Move Yourself’ pairs loose, tribal percussion with a 4/4 kick, reflecting the trio’s gradual shift towards playing more house-oriented fare in their own sets. This groovy-as-hell rhythm is likely to be found in a wide range of DJ bags/USBs through the coming months.
Finally, ‘Helix’ finds Ploy confident enough to forgo the constraints of typical dancefloor drums altogether to construct a real psychedelic roller; the soothing “yeah” snippets equally suited to easing in the 10pm crew or taking the 10am crew further out. My favourite of a predictably high-class release - Hessle are back.
Words by Matt J