We continue our trek through some of the most significant choons to come out of the UK post-post-dubstep axis. One thing to remember about the first mutations away from the dark garage and soon-parodic halfstep was that they were very focused on the midrange and rather maximalist, almost like a pendulum swing away from the austere, downcast dirges Loefah pioneered. Artists like Ikonika, Hyetal, Shortstuff (I still desperately want a copy of "A Rustling"), Girl Unit, Rustie, and the ever-flexible Kode9--amongst too many others--piled onto layers upon layers of varicolored, often pitch-bent melodies over a rhythmic framework that was a curious outgrowth of UK growth paired that sounded at once familiar and alien. It was a curious time as it was arguably the last gasp of the UK dance music intelligentsia amidst the debate over the "wonky" classification.
Things would soon become far more varied while bringing back a certain type of austerity that made this new sound an obvious progression from the dubstep and post-dubstep milieu. Like Pearson Sound's "Starburst" and many other records released that year, Tessela's bass-focused barnburners moved away from intricate melodies to focus on even more intricate drum programming, criminally violent bass weight, and adroit sampling (see the Delia Derbyshire sample that makes up the backbone of Bruce's momentous roller "Not Stochastic.") Starting with a heavily-reverbed, industrial-like drum break that stops are start in fits, sounding not unlike a more blown-out take on Blawan's signature percussive sound. Then a little after the one-minute mark following a brief segueway comprised of mangled siren blasts, the tension now warmed to a rolling simmer, we encounter 'the drop' but this isn't some metal riff-like breakdown transposed atop an EDM framework. Switching between his initial drum hits on the one and a staggered Amen break, each underpinned by a single alternating bass note, like if a dial tone was dropped a couple octaves and smoothed out. While junglist nods had already become a trop of dubstep, here the Amen break is used less as a trope and more as an organic element of the song itself, extending the initial dynamic with silence being met on the four. After four passes, the producer hits the gas pedal and we're off on a breaks-led highway police chase that is mainly comprised of the drums and the siren stab, not quite achieving a groove until a rave-y pad builds over the now-rolling beat. The drums then drop out, leaving just the pulsating RBG pad before the drums return with that punctuating blast of noise before a doppler-like swirl of sound builds with the breaks to the song's coda (and making it ideal for mixing).
Where "Hackney Parrot" added hook-y diva vocals to this breaks-focused template, here restraint is the watchword as the texture of the drums and sonics are really what carry this tune and continue to make it a fantastic bridge track in the mix.