September 30, 2012
As if ties to Punch Drunk, Young Turks and countless 12”s on a host of other labels over the last year isn’t enough, Bristol man Vessel has now landed himself a deal with purveyors of all things electronically moody, Tri Angle Records – a perfect home for Gainsborough’s dark, veiled soundscapes. His first release for them (and first official full length), Order of Noise, is a consolidation of the young Sebastian Gainsborough’s work to date, with more than a little respect shown to his new home.
It’s hard to tell whether Gainsborough’s recent Tri Angle surroundings have had a deep impact on his sound, or whether his new ethereal direction pre-empted the move itself. Either way, the ghostly layers and clouds of dark ambience that filter through Order of Noise certainly owe a debt to label mates like Holy Other, Balam Acaab and oOoOO.
Opener ‘Vizar’ sets the tone, its sweeping pads and long, droning harmonies creating an unearthly ambience. The disembodied vocals that define much of the Tri Angle sound make an early appearance, with Gainsborough using them subtly and to good effect.
‘Stillborn Dub’ incites comparisons to the German minimal producer Pole with its spaced out delays and clattering, lo-fi and low-filtered percussion, while ‘Silten’ is a hypnotically dragging piece, full of glassy synths and snatches of wordless vocals. ‘Images of Bodies’ is spaciously minimal techno with a first glimpse of Vessel’s characteristically deep bass tones, before ‘Lache’ brings a chaotic intro into focus with a perfectly timed beat drop.
The influences of dub are heavily in attendance on Order of Noise (check out ‘2 Moon Dub’ or the echoing ‘Aries’), and there’s even a touch of high energy Euro-house on ‘Plane Curves’.
Gainsborough’s more experimental efforts are largely successful too. The franticly building ‘Court of Lions’ and ‘Scarletta’’s explosion of grainy synths and scattered rhythms particular highlights, and there’s a touch of Hype Williams at their most distant on closer ‘Villaine’ – bookending the album perfectly with ‘Vizar’.
It’s a strong debut for Gainsborough, managing to twist his own unique compositional style perfectly to fit with Tri Angle’s ethos – a label that’s successfully positioning itself as the number one source for this particular strain of narcotised, ethereal production.
Read this review in context over at HYPONIK
October 10, 2011
Vessel – ‘Wax Dance’ EP
A Future Without
The return of Bristol native Sebastian Gainsbrough sees him attach his Vessel moniker to an EP of quality bass music, teaming up with new label A Future Without in the process.
Only a few months on from his impressive debut 12” ‘Nylon Sunset’ on the fledgling Left_blank imprint, Gainsbrough has hit the ground running at new home A Future Without, putting together a collaboration with lablemate Zhou. The resulting split single, ‘Tremble/Release Me’, is an impressive two tracks of ghostly ambience, and dropped back in August. Now Gainsbrough throws the ‘Wax Dance’ EP into the mix, to devastating effect.
Title track opener ‘Wax Dance’ has a muted tribal quality to it, leaning towards the lo-fi end of the minimal techno spectrum. Snippets of vocals calling out like ghosts in the machine complete the eerie nature produced by distant chords and blips. ‘James Dean’ introduces a schizophrenic feeling to proceedings, with scraps of beats underpinning a racing bass synth sequence. Fittingly, it ends suddenly mid-phrase, in keeping with the disorientated feel of both the track and the EP as a whole. This disorientation continues into the first few bars of ‘Blowback’, before a solid beat drops and the track stabilises into a solid groove, nailed in place by a syncopated bass note and the rhythmical, almost respirational quality of the synths.
Overall Gainsbrough’s production seems to have slowed in tempo, becoming more considered and introspective than the driving rhythms of ‘Nylon Sunset’. The 2-step garage swing of tracks such as ‘Ton’ has been replaced by the playful bounce of ‘Cuba’, and ‘Wax Dance’ as a whole seems to have taken a lot from the spectral sounds of the Zhou collaboration. This is no more evident than on the pensive closer ‘Trapped Wave’, an uplifting and gentle head-nodder driven by spirited synths and soft, round drums.
The rate of maturity in Gainsbrough’s production over such a short space of time is impressive, and it appears he has found himself in a prime location to build on the exciting work found on this strong EP.
See this review in context over at HYPONIK
May 20, 2011
Vessel – Nylon Sunset
If further proof of Bristol’s sky-high status in the bass music world was required, then left_blank – a brand new London-based label founded by Patrick Hanrahan and Ross Tones (better known as producer Throwing Snow) – have provided it by mining the city’s seemingly endless talent pool for their first release.
‘Nylon Sunset’, a debut 12” from Sebastian Gainsbrough (under the alias Vessel), is as good a first release any fledgling label could hope to produce, and it comes as no surprise when pressing play that Gainsbrough himself comes from the Young Echo collective that also includes amongst its ranks Punch Drunk producer Kahn. In fact, Punch Drunk’s fingerprints are all over this 12”, with label head Peverelist providing a devastating 2-step
remix of the title track.
Bouncy, pulsing opener ‘Ton’ seems to display symptoms of paranoia – though it’s hard to put your finger on why, increasing the feeling considerably. Haunted keys and disembodied vocals flit between FaltyDL type beats, though muted in character. It’s a feel that’s echoed on ‘Nylon Sunset’ (which closes the flipside), where Gainsbrough faultlessly implements his assured brand of minimal techno under flickering synths and a kinetic
‘Blushes’ maintains the neurotic tone with a more minimal feel; a sparse soundscape on which Gainsbrough throws distant vocals and intermittent basslines, and it makes perfect sense that left_blank would be affiliated with another London-based bastion of pioneering beat music, Pictures Music.
Nylon Sunset acts as a great indication of Gainsbrough’s skills and range as a producer, and is hopefully indicative of what we can expect from the left_blank team in the future.
See this review in context over at HYPONIK