Artwork by Xia Xiaowan
Asusu might not be as established as his Livity Sound cohorts Peverelist and Kowton, but he espouses the crew’s values just as well. Like those producers, Asusu cuts a line between all manner of UK bass styles and fuses the reduced results with techno tempos. Moreover, the trio tend to pair unrefined drums with subtle, dubby accompaniment, and this is true of Velez, the Bristolian’s latest 12″ for Livity Sound’s eponymous imprint.
The title track is the more immediate of the two and surely the obvious choice for the more party-oriented DJ. Livity Sound seems to gravitate toward the 909, but “Velez” brings some of Swamp 81’s (a label more or less based around the 808) sensibilities to mind in its mechanical, drop-oriented, stop-start arrangement. Its battering percussion might elicit similar dance floor reactions to any number of crunchy industrial tracks, but somehow it comes across gentler and funkier, laced with what could be a distorted squawk of guitar. The ultra stripped-down “Rendering” is less dance floor-automatic, but it’s much prettier. It cuts a svelte figure apart from its blunt kick, purring along on sizzling stabs and distant, solemn keys. Its list of elements is economical, but the producer’s skill at modulating them shines through. With little wasted energy and a fluid but restrained emotional pull, it’s a fine addition to the night-drive techno canon.