David Kennedy chose to end 2010 in the same way he ended in 2009 — but who could blame him, it’s a hell of a trick. Sneaking out a twelve on his own Hessle Audio label under his Pearson Sound alias wasn’t so easy this time, however, because after the year he had all eyes were fixated on the man otherwise known as Ramadanman. The 2009 release was the funky-flecked PLSN/Wad one-two punch, precision percussive experiments that laid the blueprint for the unbroken ground Kennedy would unceremoniously violate over the course of 2010. These two Pearson Sound tracks, however, couldn’t be more different than their predecessors. What are they? Well, you tell me. They’re marginally dubstep tempo (at 135 beats per minute, the lowest acceptable reaches of the genre), but they sound much closer to the weirdest moments on his self-titled EP or most recently, his house remix of Jamie Woon’s “Night Air.”
“Blue Eyes” is a patience-tester with mucky clouds of bass impeding the path of a snare/hat combo that sounds like a toy marching band. All the while rapid arpeggios spiral out of the center like an excitable pinball machine, until they’re pushed away by an organ riff that completely sends the track off balance. If it sounds a bit confusing, that’s because it is. The track resumes its march before being interrupted the same way once again; it may be predictable, but it’s nowhere near conventional. “Blanked,” however, is perhaps the ultimate David Kennedy production. It drops quick hats, toms and snares in a hesitant hot-potato shuffle, dodging those distinctive bass drops that congeal as balls of low-end frequencies, detonating when they hit the ground into an impressively physical inaudible range — even on the crappiest of systems. The song’s mercurial, ruthlessly chopped vocal center rolls and rotates in place, coaxing out a blinding synth breakdown that completely overwhelms the track: think the breakdown in “Work Them,” only much bigger. Even better, the self-consciously elegant motif carries with it intensive and punishing swathes of sub-bass, providing a visceral underbelly to the track’s otherwise light-handed touch. As if depleted from such an exertion, the track pitters its way into exhaustion, to the point where even those squelchy bass drops are all dissipating high end. Rumor has it Pearson Sound is the preferred alias for Kennedy, who will be phasing out the Ramadanman name. If it means more tracks like these, it won’t matter what name is on the sleeve.