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Bruce – Just Getting Started

As the Livity Sound sublabel continues its mission to draw in external producers that share in the particular vision of Pev, Kowton and Asusu, so they turn to a completely fresh proposition in the shape of Bruce. While he may be a young producer, his approach feels like a logical continuation of the path laid out by Alex Coulton, Batu and Hodge in furthering the distinct message Livity Sound is conveying. Weight of production and a soundsystem sensibility have always been key to the labels, and from the outset Bruce has those prerequisites in spades. On the increasingly fragmented dirt road between techno and dubstep both of the tracks on Just Getting Started draw on the energy of both camps as they impart the addictive, show-stopping fireworks that make a Livity track stand out in the heat of a loaded dance.

Bruce - Just Getting Started
Just Getting Started

From the off “Just Getting Started” makes all the right moves, firing up a tom n’ kick interplay that gets the groove jerking at a deadly angle. There’s a gravelly weight to the production, while the extra sonic matter that lingers around the rhythmic instruction comes in scratchy, playful forms. For all its sharp twists of movement though, this feeling the track elicits is one more akin to a hard techno cut, from the energy rush of the snapping hats to the gnashing bite of the final piece in the percussive puzzle. This is not a space for an ear-snagging melody or a rounded bassline, but rather a harshly-lit den of pure percussive submission. However in the dynamism of the track the monotonous quality that can sometimes accompany techno of this disposition is sideswiped by a constant, fizzing inventiveness that keeps you on tender hooks throughout the all-too brief four and a half minutes.

By way of contrast, “Tilikum” is geared more towards the 4/4 thrust of house music, albeit as played through a scruffy set of drums. There is a decisive bounce to the kick, while the metallic chord stab accents the funkiness with the same kind of flair you might expect of Shed. The audacious breakdown (if you can really call it that?) uses a grotty bit of sound destruction and a complete dismemberment of the arrangement to make sure everyone is paying attention. The real meat of the track begins once the glutinous bassline comes romping into earshot to round out the groove in devastating fashion. It’s completely rough and ready, with yet more splashes of effects-smothered experimentation in every nook and cranny, and yet it promises nothing but exuberant responses from the dancing public.

In the same way that tracks like Asusu’s “Sister” or Pev’s “Aztec Chant” have, along with so many others, have afforded Livity Sound a canon of startling, memorable electronic music, Bruce has in the space of two modestly sized tracks more than stepped up to the occasion. It might be overly emphatic to call these tracks perfect but it’s hard to find fault with them, not least compared to the emergence of other precocious talents in the realm of leftfield dance music. If Pev’s promise that we’re “going to be hearing a lot more” about Bruce is correct, then we’re all in for a treat.

Oli Warwick


A1 Just Getting Started
B1. Tilikum