Tessela – Rough 2 EP
Label: R&S Records Score: 6/10
Tessela, the man behind the belting, self-released Hackney Parrot tune, which when remixed by Special Request for his Soul Music LP, became one of, if not THE highlight of the end of year list topping, pseudo jungle pastiche album’s bonus disc, returns to R&S for his next heady slice of jungalist techno in the form of his Rough 2 EP.
Following on from last year’s Nancy’s Parrot, his inaugural R&S release, a similarly intoxicating blend of breakbeat science and slithering basslines, Tessela shows no signs of letting up on his assault on Europe’s dancefloors with his new endeavour.
Opening up with the titular ‘Rough 2’, a number which ascends into life with knife sharp hi-hat/perc work, before being joined by heaving, crust covered kick drums and the rat-a-tat-tat of ‘batacuda’ snare patterns (read: pretensions PR jargon for military style snare rolls) and burbling well placed sound effects. These drums in themselves would be enough to set a floor off, but when the nimble, slo-mo vibrato organ enters the fray the party really starts. Unleashing a demented world of hard drums and esoteric harmony that just fucking works really well, the tune once again marks Ed Russell out as a producer par excellence. Ripping electronic yawns, filter snaps and un-synced lfo mods complete the tracks sound palette leaving us in no doubt that this tune is a banger.
‘Butchwax’, lurches into life as a swung Perc-esque interpretation of electro meeting techno in a rubbish dump. Replete with the type of caustic acid that is in-vogue with the industrial techno fraternity at the moment, Russell shows he isn’t a man to be pinned down to just one trend, but instead likes to spread his wings to incorporate other elements of music that are hip and popular in the underground world at the moment. There are some nice re-amping/natural sounding reverb impulses afoot and some unique lo-fi effectations, but to me the tune just kinda plods along not really adding anything to the industrial techno/electro cannon the tune is clearly influenced by.
The EP closes with ‘Come On, Lets Slow Dance’, an experimental, squidgy laser light show that purports to “push the boundaries of his sound to breaking point” when in fact it sounds a bit like a shit version of something Objekt and his ilk might discard. Sure there are moments of top quality sound design and distictive sounding grit and hiss, but when you are placing tunes like this alongside the A-side you are always going to asking for trouble. This feels like a tune that should be on an album rather than on a three track dancefloor orientated EP (I mean that is R&S’s current remit is it not?)
All in all, given the unbelievable quality of the opening tune, (which trust me, you will want to rinse again and again and again) this EP is fairly disappointing, especially with what we have heard from the man before. It seems as if he is trying to expand from being pigeonholed as a pseudo experimental techno jungalist, into something more, but unfortunately he just hasn’t nailed it on this one. That being said, Rough 2 is probably worth the price of admission for the opening track alone.