Ed Russell’s career as Tessela seems to move in well-defined periods of exploration. His early releases, leading up to 2013’s Hackney Parrot, saw him combining breakbeats with the sub-heavy techno configurations that were born from the ashes of UK dubstep. Following that were a trio of EPs for R&S where he deconstructed the sound into a rugged, sometimes disorientating field of kicks and breaks, the ghosts of hardcore’s sugar-rush melodies still swimming in the mix.
With January’s Luv Mix and this release on his newly-resurrected Poly Kicks imprint, there’s a new restraint and poise at play, his rhythms tensing into tightly-wound loops, the melodies compressed into short bursts of colour.
With Patsy is the ace of the 12”, where a heavily syncopated rhythm applies constant pressure, adorned by an ultra-clipped vocal cry. It’s a heady concoction primed for the dancefloor, made all the more appealing by its machine-gun sub bass and the flurry of dry claps at the breakdown. Swimming builds slowly over its busy rhythm, its lone melodic element an elastic bleep that shines like a weak star in a black sky. While breakbeats don’t make such an obvious appearance, the raucous heritage of UK bass music still simmers beneath the surface of these taut club tracks.