It’s fair to say that Leeds via London Hessle Audio co-founder David Kennedy has had a pretty outstanding year. This year alone, he has released a collaboration with Midland on Will Saul’s Aus imprint; “Glut” on Untold’s Hemlock; the Ramadanman EP on Hessle Audio and “Work Them” (the ubiquitous summer anthem, and arguably the new “Hyph Mngo”) on Loefah’s Swamp 81. Earning the respect and admiration of every DJ and tastemaker worth their salt, plus a legion of loyal followers, twenty one year old Pearson Sound (aka Ramadanman) has blown the music industry away with his sophisticated production, devastating DJ sets and creative prowess. And make no mistake, his next 12” on the Hessle imprint is no exception to the rule.
For anyone who heard Kennedy on Benji B’s Radio One show a few weeks back, you will know of his current interest in Chicago Juke, and it is from this sonic palette that he paints his picture here. A gorgeous, hazy atmospheric intro with a shimmering glow grows as the beats begin to patter with increasing insistence in “Blanked”. Building the atmosphere like a master craftsman, he sculpts and moulds the sounds around one another adeptly, like a potter working clay, or an artist sketching a drawing. As the track moves along, a warm hum of bass, sonorous organ-like instrumentals and chopped up future garage style vocals lead into a drop around the midway point. The progression and development continues right until the end, as the tune disappears into a crackle of background noise, hums and whirs.
It’s a hard act to follow, but “Blue Eyes” on the flip makes a sterling attempt to live up to its counterpart. Tuning into a less brooding sensibility, Kennedy lets the tension build in a gently nudging, hissing intro before flurrying bleepy ripples reign free with cooing female vox. These chirrups are no sooner articulated then they are drowned out and disappear; the ticking beats and percussion return to the fore, but then again, teasingly, the vocals return, only to be towed away on a tidal wave of synth work and sobriety. So we are drawn into the world of Pearson Sound with a superb release and another gem in Kennedy’s ever-expanding musical canon.