John Heckle – Baiyun Mountain
Label: M>O>SScore: 8.5/10
As someone who arrived at the house scene in the early nineties, a great many of the landmark records from the decades before always felt a touch… wet. Sacrilegious it might be to say so, the original sounds and techniques felt rather weak in the face of the popular wave of contemporary productions from that era. With that in mind, the recent trend of analogue rebooted has proved an excellent chance to revisit the bygone aesthetic and revisit hasty youthful conclusions.
Wet and weak are two words you would not describe John Heckle’s productions with and this is aptly demonstrated across this three tracker for the discerning M>O>S imprint. Each element feels as if it is being driven to its absolute extreme; frayed, distorted and, at times, almost demented. ‘Jump in at Birds With Vertigo’, the beats are joyously raucous and the hoover bassline starts to verge on the unhinged, fighting through schizophrenic giggling and shrill arpeggios. Living up to its name, ‘Cactus Jack’ provides a commanding beat for dancefloor marchers, full machine driven analogue melody, while Baiyun Mountain is a sprawling piece, evoking memories of ‘Myuki Byuki’ era Plaid.
There is a sense that Heckle is having the time of his life in his productions, riding the groove and enjoying the fruits of spontaneous exploration. Having just come off the back of a successful sophomore album, he is rapidly emerging from the periphery as a prominent figure of the forward thinking house movement.