✦ Behind the Decks: A History of Pearson Sound
Electronic music is constantly evolving, making it challenging for producers to keep up with the latest trends. DJs can update their collections, but completely reinventing one's sound is much more difficult. The UK in particular is known for its diverse dance music scenes, which can emerge and disappear quickly. David Kennedy, one of the members of the Hessle Audio label, understands this well. Along with Pangaea and Ben UFO, Hessle Audio helped create a new sound after the dubstep era, launching the careers of many new artists and paving the way for experimental sounds. Hessle Audio's early days featured artists like Blawan, Cosmin TRG, and Objekt, whose current sounds are vastly different from the label's original Bristolian figures such as Peverelist, Kowton, and Bruce. Kennedy, who produces under Pearson Sound, has played a significant role in shaping Hessle Audio's unique style. He has experimented with many different genres throughout his career. On March 31st, Pearson Sound will showcase his take on UK dance music at Space Two, and in this article, we look back at some of the defining moments of his career.
Tempest" by Ramadanman is a powerful and dynamic track that combines elements of dubstep and techno to create a hypnotic and intense listening experience. The track features a driving beat with crisp, sharp percussion that sets the pace for the track. This is complemented by a deep and powerful bassline that provides a solid foundation for the entire piece. The track also includes a range of synth and atmospheric sounds that build tension and contribute to the overall sense of urgency. There are several breakdowns throughout the track where the beat drops out, allowing the listener to focus on the intricate textures and soundscapes that Ramadanman has created. Overall, "Tempest" is a masterful example of how to combine different styles and elements to create a cohesive and engaging piece of electronic music.
In "Blanked," David Kennedy showcases his talent for manipulating and reimagining classic sounds. He takes an amen break and slows it down, creating a sparse percussive rhythm that is complemented by a brooding bassline. However, the bassline doesn't dominate the track - instead, it's supported by synths and stylized vocal cries that add to the moody atmosphere. As the amen break reappears, it injects energy and movement into the track, making it impossible not to tap your feet along. This ability to deconstruct and rebuild classic arrangements is a hallmark of Kennedy's style, and "Blanked" is a prime example of his mastery of the technique. Ultimately, Kennedy's approach elevates the track to something greater than the sum of its parts.
On "Faint," David Kennedy joins forces with Boddika and Joy O to create a dark and moody track that is characterized by its low, dubby basslines and sparse, thudding percussion. However, what really stands out is the haunting refrain of "I begin to go weak," which adds to the track's sense of unease and despair. The repetition of these words creates a dragging, ceaseless feeling that adds to the track's overall moodiness. As the track progresses, it builds to a wall of sound that is more reminiscent of shoegaze than dubstep, showcasing the trio's versatility and range. The impact of "Faint" was apparent to many, with Roman Flügel even dropping it in the middle of a house set at Panorama Bar, demonstrating its cross-genre appeal. It's no wonder that the track continues to be highly regarded by fans and critics alike.
The track features a minimal, stripped-down approach that focuses on the interplay between various percussive elements. At its core is a thumping kick drum and a syncopated, metallic hi-hat pattern that provides the backbone of the rhythm. These elements are gradually augmented by additional percussive hits, including claps and various other metallic sounds, creating a sense of tension and urgency. The track gradually builds to a climax before breaking down into a series of stuttering rhythms and abstract textures, showcasing Pearson Sound's skill in crafting immersive soundscapes. Overall, "Thaw Cycle" is a hypnotic and engaging track that demonstrates the artist's mastery of minimal, percussion-focused electronic music.
In XLB, David Kennedy showcases his skill for crafting relentless dance tracks. The song features precarious hi-hats that contrast with a swirling pool of synths, but they only serve as a guide for the song's structure. The synths slowly dissolve, as if part of a vivid dream, until a frenzied bass line takes over in a percussive explosion. Despite his explorations in different genres, XLB is a testament to Kennedy's unwavering commitment to club-focused music and his talent for creating tracks that ignite the dance floor.
The title track "Red Sky" takes the listener on an 8-minute journey filled with dynamic breaks, powerful basslines, and mesmerizing synths. The track builds up its momentum with each passing moment, taking the listener on an unforgettable musical odyssey that showcases the artist's exceptional skills and creative vision. The carefully crafted arrangement of "Red Sky" highlights the artist's ability to create an immersive soundscape that keeps the listener engaged and captivated throughout the entire track. This is undoubtedly a standout piece of work that truly embodies the artist's talent and musical prowess.
With his innovative approach to sound design and willingness to experiment with different genres and styles, he has become a leading figure in the electronic music scene. Pearson Sound's unique approach to music production has earned him a dedicated fan base and respect from fellow producers and DJs. As he continues to push the boundaries of electronic music, we can expect to hear even more exciting and boundary-breaking work from him in the years to come. Pearson Sound's contributions to electronic music are undeniable, and his influence will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.