- After a debut album that left some fans cold and others enjoyably perplexed, David Kennedy's music as Pearson Sound has gotten back to basics. Thaw Cycle closed 2015 with two of the Londoner's most straightforward tunes in recent memory, albeit with his signature rhythmic tilt and skewed production sense. But if those tracks were like a glass of water for an audience thirsty for banging club fare, then XLB is a jug of Club-Mate. Bubbly, energizing and utterly satisfying, these two tracks approach Kennedy's bass-loaded house and techno with a renewed love for having fun on the dance floor.
For "XLB," that means crafting a rich contrast of disorientation and undeniable groove. Aqueous synth notes cascade deliriously over a thrumming kick pattern, as claps and hi-hats keep a more reasonable tempo. It's a slyly simplistic arrangement—one that Kennedy has no trouble making the most of, adding and subtracting parts at will—but loaded with intent and the promise of something big on the other side. When the waterfall synths start winding down and the drums dissipate about two minutes in, the tension builds to a psychedelic boiling point. And then the bassline kicks in. It seems unlikely there could be a bigger drop in 2016.
"Tsunan Sun" delivers the goods less dramatically. Full of dynamic syncopation, it fires on all cylinders as it teases a bright, charging synth line to the foreground. When it comes into full shimmering view midway through, the moment is striking. But if there's a caveat to "Tsunan Sun," it's that the central melody loses its potency by the end of its five-minute run. A small price to pay for the best Pearson Sound record in years.
B Tsunan Sun