John Heckle :: Translate (030303)

Sleek and slender strings, blushed pads and warmth to even out those grizzled hi-hats and snares. A quality addition for 030303 and a fantastic addition to Ireland’s electronic music scene.

It appears John Heckle, a stalwart of Tabernacle, has left his hometown of Liverpool and sailed across the Irish Sea to Dublin. Andrew Ingram, one of the TABR bosses, told me this when I caught up with him in Krakow during the Summer. The move seems to have done little to stymie Heckle’s productivity, his latest album being created in Ireland’s capital with a new 12” having just landed on 030303.

“Translate” rumbles along on an uneven track. Motoring with energy, the track wobbles between abrasive basslines and delicate notes with clean percussion keeping the balance. “Terix” is more a reduced piece. Heckle toys with a melody, echoing spiking keys in concentric loops. Beats refuse to sit still, drunkenly stumbling into one another to raise the hackles of a rhythm. Yet, in spite of this almost chaotic cacophony, there is harmony, an angular cohesion achieved through some sleight of hand. In fact, this ability to achieve balance is a trademark of Heckle’s sound. The Liverpudlian’s love of rinsing rhythms and distortion is, more often than not, sweetened by playful melodies. This is certainly the case with the finale, “Hear Me.” Thick drums slap into wet earth, flangers spike and toms trundle, all the while a bass line dances a whirling duet with spiraling notes.

I’m not sure if the title, Translate, might refer to the difficulties of the Irish accent, I do know that this latest definitely belongs in Heckle’s more caustic catalogue. Beats are full bodied, sporting a hefty jacket of static and fuzz. But, beneath this rough exterior lies something more fragile. Sleek and slender strings, blushed pads and warmth to even out those grizzled hi-hats and snares. A quality addition for 030303 and a fantastic addition to Ireland’s electronic music scene.

Translate is available on 030303.

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