John Heckle – Blues for a Red Giant

It’s hard to believe that Blues for a Red Giant is John Heckle’s debut release for Lunar Disko. The Liverpool producer and the Dublin label share a lot of common ground and Heckle himself has spent a good deal of time in the Irish capital in recent years. And yet this five-tracker isn’t typical Heckle or Lunar Disko. Sure, it is rooted in the Chicago-influenced style that he has made his name with, but it also includes many surprises along the way.

John Heckle - Blues for a Red Giant
Artist
John Heckle
Title
Blues for a Red Giant
Label
Lunar Disko
Format
12"
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The opening track, “Bon Voyage”, begins life as a dead ringer for the angular, splintered rhythm of Liaisons Dangereuses wave/new beat classic “Peut Etre Pas”, before Heckle decides after a few minutes to change course and push the arrangement down a pulsing, strobe lit course. “Red Giant Encounter” marks another shift in focus; this time it’s into the tortured shrieks and oppressive bass of Broken English Club or Silent Servant territory, albeit with those elements supported by rolling, lo-fi Chicago drums.

“Implications of Meaning” is the third curve ball on the release; instead of his signature drums, the beats are sloppy and tribal, meandering all over the place as discordant riffs hurtle in like lightning strikes overhead. The arrangement feels like a runaway train that’s about to derail and hurtle down a ravine, but this never quite materialises.

Counterbalancing this out of control approach are “Drunken Organ” and “Collective Intelligence”.  The former is a 90 second drum tool, while the latter pushes eight minutes. Weaving its way in and out of crisp drums, clanking percussion and a snaking bass are the kind of serene synths that one would normally find on a Conforce or Aroy Dee record. It’s not a typical Heckle track, but taken together with his recent remixes of Jamal Moss for Tabernacle, he’s an artist who is becoming increasingly difficult to define.

Richard Brophy

Tracklisting:

A1. Bon Voyage
A2. Red Giant Encounter
A3. Drunken Organ
B1. Collective Intelligence
B2. Implications of Meaning