Peverelist used to go by Hatfield Peverel Junglist Massive, Hatfield Peverel being the Bristol-based producer's Essex hometown, and jungle being the genre most important to him. Tessellation, or tiling, is when a shape is repeated over a surface without gaps or overlaps. It's hard to think of a better description of jungle's core technique, in which discrete breakbeat units are stitched together into a delirious patchwork of syncopation. Tom Ford's music does this at lower tempos: drums and melodies loop in dense orbit, their repetition inducing a powerful hypnotic effect.
This approach has made him one of the most distinctive producers in recent British dance music. Though low-profile, he has helped reorientate UK dance floors twice: first as a key Bristol dubstepper of the late '00s, and then as one third of Livity Sound, who set the hybrid techno coordinates followed by many young producers. Tessellations, his first album since 2009, doesn't reflect a third breakthrough moment. Instead, it consolidates and celebrates an inimitable style. At its best, the album's deft configurations of familiar Peverelist sounds are enough to make you fall in love with his tessellations all over again.
The stronger tracks come in the album's first half. "Under Clearing Skies" offsets a ten-ton sub-bass throb with chord stabs that spray like spume. It has the trademark Peverelist feeling of hovering over a euphoric drop moment that never quite comes. "Still Early"'s emotive charge is heightened by a tightly swung groove: snares and skeins of trancelike melody skid across the groove, trailed by a controlled avalanche of claps, toms and ride cymbals. "Wireframes" echoes the most austere Livity Sound productions in its menacing slouch and sinister dial-tone arp.
In usual Peverelist style, these hits are delivered without flourish or extravagance. A brief beatless intro and outro are the only concessions to the album form. Otherwise, his ideas are presented with a directness befitting a dance 12-inch. This only becomes a problem in the album's second half, as the energy dips slightly. "Slice Of Life" is a fairly straight nod to Detroit, with light-dappled chords and driving 4/4. "Further Inland," a little too spacious and sombre, lacks that junglist rush. The subdued "Brinks And Limits" is an odd choice for the album's final full track. It gives way to a stern ambient outro called "Plateau," and maybe that's what this album represents: a levelling out of Ford's sound, at least for now. But flatness isn't the only thing that defines a plateau—there's also elevation. Not many producers reach his giddy heights.
Tracklist01. Burning Sea
02. Under Clearing Skies
03. Still Early
04. Sheer Chance Matters
06. Slice Of Life
07. Further Inland
08. Brinks And Limits