Pearson Sound / Ramadanman Pearson Sound / RamadanmanFabriclive 56
The ruling classes of dubstep in the past few years –Skream, Kode9 and also David Kennedy– haven’t reached that status because of God-given intelligence nor by spontaneous generation; they are neither visionaries nor touched by the gods. Their secret is simple: they’re vinyl junkies, sickly hungry for new sounds, record store dwellers and, despite the young age some of them, they’re blessed with a lot of experience, having started their careers when they were still adolescents. Kennedy, who’s used several monikers –of which Ramadanman and Pearson Sound are the most well known–, is one of those gluttonous people who devour all music and metabolise musical styles with incredible ease. Then, thanks to several coincidences and circumstances –among which is the context of the moment, which no-one slips free from–, the influences end up taking him to a certain corner, in his case breezey dubstep, with intricate rhythms and a light inclination towards house. On his 12”s on Hessle Audio, Aus Music and Hemlock it’s obvious the man has baggage and personality, and that has to surface sooner or later. “ Fabriclive 56”, as a mix album, has very little to do with Ramadanman’s previous exercise, the second CD of the “ Dubstep Allstars: Vol. 7” release on Tempa, signed by himself and Chef. On that record, although in 2009, you could already see many of the transformations that happened in dubstep in 2010 coming, there was a careful dedication to the most floating and tenuous extreme of the scene, with some of the first appearances of James Blake and Mount Kimbie on a mix CD. The Fabric mix, however, is more impetuous, without forgetting about the details. The variety of tempos unfolds in a nervous up-and-down where you can the origins of David Kennedy, in UK garage and drum’n’bass. The 30 tracks in this set follow each other rapidly, lasting no more than a few minutes each, and that technical precision is what makes it even better than expected: this time the thread connecting all the pieces is not the common texture –the post-dubstep, between ambient and deep-house, that generally marked his tracks until the renovation of “Glut”–, but the persistent and pulsating rhythm, which is sometimes a frantic 4x4 –the sequence that goes from “ Battle For Middle You” ( Julio Bashmore) to “ GR Etiquette” ( Joy Orbison), via the tremendous Carl Craig re-edit of “ Void23”, produced by our main man and Appleblim– and almost always deformed by a tendency to the broken rhythm, which sometimes takes on the shape of electro (“ Project”, signed as Pearson Sound).
Apart from the styles and particular focuses, the mix is valuable because it reflects London; every crucial mix album is just that because of its capacity to condense, in an hour and fifteen minutes, the small variations existing in the underground scene. In the case of this must-have item –yes, it’s the record you would want to take home if you could only choose ten in a store–, the vivid perception you get is one of soft agitation, of non-violent turmoil: the spatial notion of early dubstep is maintained, but with a much more complete variety of tempos, which lessens the possibility of monotony without losing a sense of coherence, of being subjected to a very specific script. Apart from dub house and electro, David Kennedy selects turbulent UK funky cuts –“ Different Lekstrix” by Mr. Mageeka–, unusual grime –MJ Cole featuring Wiley on “ From The Drop”–, classics like “ Qawwali” (Pinch) and “ Pirates” (Burial), basslines that destroy your ears –the part almost at the end with Die Barbie Musik Kollektive, Girl Unit, D1 and S-X– and even a pinch of juke for good measure (“ Fuck The 101”, by Addison Groove). Describing it like this, it could be a everyday mix, but it’s quite the contrary: it’s a noble effort of condensation of the links between all the post-dubstep currents, much like nuclear interaction keeps the core of the atom together and makes the existence of the universe possible. On a smaller scale, Pearson Sound is helping to sustain the vitality of the British underground, about to enter another complicated episode of transition. Javier Blánquez