Mark Forshaw / John Heckle :: Double review (Tabernacle)

Tabernacle Records has, since opening its doors, focused on the three pillars of machine music: Techno, House and Electro. Where many labels have surrendered to fad; Tabernacle has remained true. Mark Forshaw’s excellent Atavism is proof that there are people still making quality Techno without succumbing to the mentality of the Dub herd. Likewise, John Heckle is an artist pushing the definitions of House. Coarse and tough, Voices and Visions sees the Merseyside man deliver his unique brand whilst displaying something new as well.

Tabernacle Records and Dark Entries have a central similarity. It’s not location; one from the towerblock buttressed Glasgow and the other the pacific skies of San Francisco. Nor is it musical taste, Tabernacle focusing on the sounds of Techno, House and Electro. Where these disparate imprints come together is with productivity. Tabernacle is still relatively new, but it is an imprint with the metabolic output of a label thrice its size and age. Under heavy cloud cover the Slabs boys introduce something new alongside a favorite.

Phantom Planet Outlaws member Mark Forshaw debuts his solo career with Atavism. “A New Start” opens and takes its cue from the sounds of House and 90s UK Techno. Acid lines tweak but it is the arcing subtler tones that elevate this into a quality piece of Electronics. Chicago follows with the sexually sampled “Dirt on the Trax.” 303s add a raw edge to this subterranean piece. “The Influencing Machine” sees Electro enter. Forshaw taps out staccato pulses whilst injecting catchiness into the reduction. “Flying High” is full figured Techno. Chords lap, overlap and relapse over rasping beats. Concentrated and pure product is the result of a complex stratification of sounds; a quality piece. “Primitive Streak” closes. Aching keys are at the core, beats and bass curling round them for this superb run-out.

John Heckle has wisdom beyond his years. Liverpool’s answer to House may be enjoying his early twenties but the Merseysider has already released a spread of whilst touring widely as a live artist and DJ. “Doctor Catz” opens with what has become Heckle’s signature sound. Warped and distorted elements are twinned with shimmering melodies and psy-House constructs. “1-7 Main 8-9 Recurring” comes from a similar place. The beats are once again bold and brazen but the chords take a lead from a jazzy Techno day. A noodling melody works its way into “Nine Gulps.” Some of the frenetic House energy of previous releases is tempered on this EP, but “Nine Gulps” keeps a full bodied floor feel whilst introducing some interesting counter sounds. “Ode to SAW” sees Heckle don a different cap. The Liverpudlian’s homage to Aphex Twin’s ambient works is a soulful respite from the beat laden precursors. A deep and textured piece of Ambient music. Possibly a prelude to more atmospheric abstraction from Heckle.

Tabernacle Records has, since opening its doors, focused on the three pillars of machine music: Techno, House and Electro. Where many labels have surrendered to fad; Tabernacle has remained true. Mark Forshaw’s excellent Atavism is proof that there are people still making quality Techno without succumbing to the mentality of the Dub herd. Likewise, John Heckle is an artist pushing the definitions of House. Coarse and tough, Voices and Visions sees the Merseyside man deliver his unique brand whilst displaying something new as well. Fair play Tabernacle.

Both releases are available on Tabernacle.

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