Elgato, Tonight/Blue

[Hessle Audio]

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It would be easy for the story of his label to overwhelm that of Elgato, when trying to make sense of the producer’s debut on the Leeds-cum-London dubstep powerhouse Hessle Audio. After all, the identity and back story of Elgato is being held close to the chest: all we know so far is that he’s had a longtime commitment to the London scene via the crew behind the Bruk blog. What’s more, even a cursory listen will reveal that this latest is just one more rabbit out of a hat for a label that has built its identity from a habit of outdoing each previous release with the next. But Hessle — which so far seems by far the most persuasive choice for label of the year, in a year when it’s set to release as much again as it has from 2007 to 2009 — inevitably fades into the background as soon as the needle drops onto Elgato’s tracks.

The B side, “Blue,” is the more prepossessing of the two tracks. It’s the more talked about so far, and is undeniably the deeper effort. A plundering bass organ settles deeply into a beat skeleton held aloft by a steady 124 bpm kick drum; its suppliant skank is counterpoised perfectly by a chopped, looped female vocal, “my dreams,” which snakes in and out of the track ensconced in puffs of sublimating synths. The sound design recalls in tone and texture Norma Jean Bell’s “Dreams.” A similar opiated, bass-weighted dreamscape aesthetic rules both. Where “Blue” really emerges into its own, however, is in the admirably subtle musical structure that guides its extraordinarily reduced components into an exponentially engrossing eight minutes, until they weigh on the mind like the shivering stammer suggested by the intensely looped vocal.

A side “Tonight,” however, is far too rich a dish to think of as an appetizer for the flip. The more I listen to “Blue”‘s more rustic counterpart, the more it becomes clear that diners at this platter had better be hungry enough for two dinners. “Tonight” is as spare, or more so, than “Blue,” and what begins pretending to be a dance floor shockout quickly frustrates this easy label, eventually settling into a mess of bubble and tweak. A thoughtful bass presence eventually takes over from the attention grabbing chords that begin the track; the participation of these low frequencies in the emotional language of the track would make James Blake or Mount Kimbie proud. In short: a superb effort worthy of every plaudit I can give, but even more so of immersing abandonment in front of the nearest big system where you can hear it.

Cassegrain  on October 13, 2010 at 1:50 PM

big love for this.

Blaktony  on October 13, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Love it….it’s so deep & soulful i’m at a lost 4 words; lovin’ the art work above the review (transport-xixweb) also. Nice.

Si  on October 15, 2010 at 9:34 AM

pretty sure this guy is originally from Newcastle, UK :)

great tunes, most cross-genre-dancefloor friendly thing that Hessle have put out for a while

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