We’re back at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen after our last sell-out party with Djrum with one of the UK underground’s mainstays, Tessela, and one of the Bavarian label Ilian Tape’s most exciting prospects, Laksa.
Tessela broke onto the UK scene during a drastic reimagining of the boundaries of dance music. Dubstep’s place at the forefront of experimentation in club music was wavering; DJs seemed to be following disparate paths, the scene devoid of obvious direction. However, using dubstep’s skippiness and sub-low baselines, coupled with the mood of eclecticism growing in the electronica scene, a new creative path was forged by young producers. Tessela’s first 12” Slugger [ACOO12XA] epitomised this.
By 2012, Tessela was moving away from the light, ambient textures that distinguished ‘post’-dubstep from its predecessor, his production having an increasingly gritty and hard-hitting edge. Tessela’s flirtation with darker industrial sounds reached a beguiling climax in his ground-breaking EP Nancy’s Pantry [RS1313]. Nancy’s Pantry is a raw and abrasive record; staccato-laden percussive stabs reach a catharsis by way of breakdown into a jungle-inspired dance-floor killer. By 2013, Tessela was spearheading a jungle and breakbeat revival that was permeating the UK dance scene. His efforts on his seminal record Hackney Parrot [POLY001]— regarded by Resident Advisor as the 2nd top track of 2013 — garnered wide-spread recognition and acclaim. It exemplified a masterful ability to manipulate samples, subsumed into the larger context of a courageous reincarnation of club-driven breakbeat records.
Tessela often treads the line between purgatory and reverie; as illustrated in Rough 2 [RS1406], initially a brutal clattering of percussion where low-fi, anguish-stricken drums give way to a whirring, coarse synth, staving off the ensuing chaos. His project with older brother Truss, Overmono, emboldened his will to experiment with the more industrial side of dance music; Overmono is a project which delves deep into the pits of an unadulterated, hissing dystopia, with the clanging of 90s warehouse inspired techno aptly providing the soundtrack.
Tessela’s DJing ability exhibits an intimacy with UK dance music and techno at large. Needless to say, Tessela is a DJ who’s proficiency is not confined to a single style or genre, and we are eagerly awaiting hosting him.
Laksa dropped his first release in 2015 — a 12” on Beneath’s Mistry label titled Draw For The [MSTRY004] — when a new space between techno and (more progressive) dubstep was opening up. Labels such as Livity Sound, Timedance and Idle Hands were eschewing the conventions of 4X4 techno, leaning instead towards more broken beat patterns, while co-opting the unique bass-driven aesthetic of dubstep.
Within a year of his debut release, Laksa had a record for the aforementioned esteemed label, Timedance, picked up by label-boss Batu, which betrayed the Bristolian edge in his production. Laksa was earning his spot in a scene which was defined by a cerebral playfulness with established genres — and rightly so. This is epitomised in his second release on Mistry, 66 Rebels [MSTRY007], where transposed wind instruments chime an almost surreal melody, ushering in a trademark Bristolian kick drum: a kick textured with a simultaneously hitting fuzzy snare The track progresses as the broken kicks roll on with low-end hi-hats, the distortion providing a sense of disarray; a subdued screeching sample complements an uncanny futuristic tableau painted masterfully by the producer. His creativity was picked up by Munich’s Zenker Brothers— with their refined palette for broken beat techno — resulting in two stellar records for their heavyweight imprint that is Ilian Tape.
As a DJ, Laksa’s love for breakbeat is further underscored. Often dropping ethereal breakbeat-inspired techno tracks — very much redolent of much of Ilian Tape releases — Laksa carves out a space where the erratic experimentation of Bristolian techno compellingly seems at odds with dreamy breaks.
The night will focus on giving both artists a space to experiment with their respective styles and sounds. Our resident DJs will set the tone with a selection of post-punk, EBM, coldwave and electro, with a view to engender an atmosphere of unfettered freedom for DJs and dancers alike.