December 19, 2009

Artist Tip - UK Bass Maverick - Shackleton

Co-founder of the legendary Skull Disco label (RIP), Shackleton has more recently made the 'all so familiar' migration to Berlin after deciding to put the highly successful Skull Disco to rest. I actually arrived a little late on the Shackleton wave, as it wasn't until his famous musical rendezvous with Ricardo Villalobos that I woke up to his unique sound. To cut a long story short, Shackleton and the other half of Skull DIsco 'Appleblim' saw Ricardo play one of his mind bending sets at Bestival (Isle of White) and having heard him drop his now famous track 'Blood on my Hands' a few times earlier in the year they were interested in getting their faces known. Both kitted out in Skull Disco t-shirts, they soon got his attention and after the show, had chance to hand him over the track to remix, which he gladly obliged to and free of charge! This kind of thing really does show the genuine side of Ricardo and his quest for new sounds. Anyway he returned with his amazing trippy 'Apocolipse Now' remix and in turn dropped it to devasating effect at places like Fabric, which raised Shackleton's profile to to the next level.

This in my opinion was a pivotal point in raising awareness in the Berlin Techno camp of the futuristic sounds coming out of  the UK Bass scene over the last few years.
Right then, let's get down to the music. For those who aren't aware of Shackleton, think of Dubstep for a second, and then completely throw that out the window. Aside from the structure revolving around the base and perhaps in his earlier work (the tempo), it bares little resemblance to anything other than 'Shackleton' music. From his first Live performances playing just his own tracks on vinyl, he has taken the 'Ableton Live' route. From what I hear, it was due to the fact his music is so percussive it was actually a bit of a ball ache having to beatmatch all the time. Well regarless of the reasons, he really has utilzed the power of Ableton Live to create highly hypnotic primal sets which as mentioned on ''..."Seem to be built vertically with layer upon layer of tribal patterns and washes of static feedback, with individual components stacked upon each other and then elaborately peeled away to the bare bones. The overall effect is reminiscent less of any concept of 'dubstep' than of some mutant, devolved strain of techno, stripped to its very core and innately tied to the ritualistic connotations of the 'dance'.
Described as 'Interesting bass music' by many, and with his current home residing in Berlin, it seems fitting that the legandary Perlon label asked him to release his latest work, called 'Three EPS'. This EP grows on me more and more with each listen. There just seems to be so much depth and texture within the sparse razer sharp rhythms and sub base that it always evokes that 'one more listen' aspect. Perhaps with his music having that certain uneasy vibe, it provokes that little bit of human nature in all of us, which is the curiosity to just look around the corner that 'one more time' and just try to understand that 'little bit' more.

The last time I saw him play was at Stealth in Nottingham back in 2008 and it still sits among the top Live sets ive ever seen. The mood he created was so primal, hypnotic and tense, by the end it really had sucked in my mind. After his set it actually took me and few others a good half hour to adjust back to some sort of normal conversation.

Check below for a review and link of his latest EP and also a stream of his mix on BBC's Mary Anne Hobbs Experimental Show. We will be keeping an eye on his musical development over in Berlin and will post any links to up and coming EP's or interesting gigs, so watch this space!

Shackleton - MAH MIX September 2009


No comments:

Post a Comment