When asked recently to name five records important to him, experimental composer Chris Madak (who often works as Bee Mask) included "Clutch", a clattering track by Pearson Sound (aka David Kennedy) that sounds as if someone mapped a drum machine onto a Rubik's Cube. "I just have a straightforwardly lizard-brained. .
David Kennedy, co-founder of influential U.K. dubstep/bass music label Hessle Audio, has been highly prolific as a solo artist since he first began releasing singles under the Ramadanman moniker in 2006. Since phasing that alias out and concentrating on the Pearson Sound project, Kennedy has moved away from the sparse bass explorations of the early dubstep sound, toward a more fractured, experimental style of club music.
Pearson Sound, the debut LP from Hessle Audio co-owner David Kennedy is an exercise in minimal electronic music, but not in the way you might think. Though many associate the genre with beatless layers of noise and stagnant melodies, Kennedy creates his own unique brand of minimalism through mode rather than mood. Recording these nine tracks on the fly and with a minimal amount of takes, Kennedy reconstructed the album through post-production, allowing simple drum beats and singular synth lines to define each song.Bringing in single word samples, à la mid-career Kraftwerk, tracks like "Asphalt Sparkle" and "Headless" feel invitingly retro and mysterious.
Reviewing Pearson Sound's Clutch EP back in 2012, I said "I'm not quite sure what one is supposed to call this music." He hasn't made it any easier since. We've had minimalist rhythmic workouts, synth-soaked reveries and most recently, beatless excursions, each one more reduced than the last. But what made them great was David Kennedy's unusual ear for melody.
There are many records that have been praised for being ahead of their time. But what of those that arrive too late? In the world of dance music, many producers would rather change their sound entirely than land out of sync, but there do appear, on occasion, problematic releases that arrive at a time when their impact is diminished. By missing the hype cycles, it perhaps gives more chance for freedom of expression, but in the context of a movement for which the artist was an important founder and innovator, more often opportunity is lost.