- Four club-ready tracks showcasing the best of contemporary UK and European techno.
- Eddy Kennedy, who DJs and produces as Kessler, broke through in clubland after winning a Mixmag and Coors Light DJ competition in his hometown of Belfast in 2019. Since then he's been a man on the go, relocating from Northern Ireland to Rotterdam and putting out a debut 12-inch for the hip Bristol label Shall Not Fade. Now Kennedy lands on Liam Wachs' Holding Hands label with an EP that brings together the sounds of his adopted Rotterdam home with a keen understanding of the lower frequencies of UK dance music.
Foul Play works because it combines a head-spinning number of references in ways that are both intuitive and unexpected. "Lotus" starts by layering dub techno over a breakbeat before the final third of the song introduces pulsing synth notes that have the distinct flavor of Kennedy's European home, bringing to mind the best continental techno you might hear on labels like ARTS or Token. The title track pulls a similar trick by mixing European techno with Miami bass and electro, then sneaking in a little dash of wistfulness with his lonesome-on-the-prairie synth solo. The B-side turns to late-'90s Britain, touching on speed garage ("Hood Mentality") and trippy breakbeat ("R2D2 On Crack").
This is an impressive release for both Kennedy and Holding Hands. Wachs, in collaboration with label A&R Jossy Mitsu, has been at the forefront of UK techno by championing a new generation of producers. While no two releases are alike, there is a particularly UK feel to the way that the label approaches bass music and, more often than not, breaks. Kennedy's record, though, further refines the Holding Hands sound by triangulating dance music across the Atlantic, the Irish Sea and the English Channel.
A1 Foul Play
B1 Hood Mentality
B2 R2D2 On Crack