Slamming broken beats and a smart sense of rhythm have marked Ed Russell as one of the UK's finest new talents. RA's Angus Finlayson explains.
"I've never been one for subtlety really," says Ed Russell of his production work as Tessela. "If you spend too long on something you sap the life out of it, it becomes a bit dry. I prefer trying to bottle some of the energy you can get in the studio." Unsubtle Russell's music may be, but it's certainly not lacking in complexity. Sure, the structures are brash and drop-oriented, and the arrangements sparse, deploying the minimum number of elements for maximum effect. But that directness serves as a counterbalance to Russell's provocatively off-kilter grooves, the kind attempted by many in the wake of labels like Hessle Audio and Swamp81, but mastered by few.
Where producers in his field often struggle to elevate their beats beyond the pedantic, Russell imbues his tracks with instant appeal. It's a skill he developed across a series of well-received 12-inches for Punch Drunk, 2nd Drop and Audio Culture in 2012. But with the recent launch of his label, Poly Kicks, Tessela looks set to take over in 2013. The imprint's inaugural single, "Hackney Parrot", has received heavy play in recent months from the likes of Jackmaster and Pearson Sound. It's easy to see why: its cross-rhythmic breakbeats and stuttering diva sample make it a perfect update of early '90s hardcore for contemporary dance floors. As with many scene anthems, it's essentially the execution of a single brilliant idea—one that seems so obvious in retrospect, it leaves you wondering why nobody else thought of it.