Tessela: Nancy's Pantry

Ed Russell (aka Tessela) makes some beautiful noise indeed on this late-2013 three-tracker for R&S, his first EP for the well-respected label. Originally from South Wales, the young firebrand alchemizes rave, jungle, and techno into percussive-heavy thunder on the fifteen-minute set. The earlier Tessela track “Hackney Parrot” brought him deserved attention and was the recipient of a stunning Special Request makeover (included on the latter's Soul Music), but Nancy's Pantry sees the bass enthusiast pushing dynamically forward with experimental zeal.

So what's in “Nancy's Pantry”? Five action-packed minutes of lethal stop-start breaks, that's what, plus a positively bruising kick drum, shotgun claps, pregnant pauses, and a seriously stoked swing, all of which Russell blends into a spectacular head-turner. Having caught one's breath, one moves on to “Horizon,” a slightly less crushing jam than the opener but no less ear-catching in its raw, blistering riffs on jackhammer jungle and euphoric rave theatrics. Tension mounts during “Gateway” when ticking hi-hat patterns hint at a bomb's imminent detonation, but Russell redirects the listener's attention into other areas thanks to a wailing soul singer and an army of warbling synths. It's in no way an exaggeration to state that Russell packs more detail and ideas into these dizzying tracks than other producers do entire albums.

January 2014