- Those who picked up Tempa's Dubstep Allstars: Vol.07 from late last year may have already been unsettled by Blawan's vertiginous "Fram." The appearance acted as a brief yet meaningful introduction to the Leeds-based producer, details of whom—even with the release of this, his debut 12-inch, for the ever-excellent Hessle Audio—are scant. "Fram" is rather like waking up in the hub of a clunking pirate vessel to find the drunken crew skanking all across the deck. (And I know we've all been there.) The feeling can be attributed to a liberal use of portamento, destabilizing an aggressively filtered bassline and pulsing 1/4 note lead, and acting as a kind of waxy musical grease. An indistinguishable, whispered vocal sample recalls Shackleton's bleak "You Bring Me Down," as a whole trunk full of hollowed-out, wood-rimmed drums allow the track to rhythmically tumble into a dance floor space all of its own.
Meanwhile, B-side "Iddy"'s drums sound as though they were purchased at a car boot sale and recorded in a snowy ditch. In a good way. The unintelligible voices make a reappearance, passing in and around a slightly more plain sailing bassline and foreboding icy synth blasts. The track has the texture of a sponged surface, soaking up spills of Blawan's contemporary influences, yet is just off-kilter and brazen enough to avoid any accusations of pastiche. Whoever Blawan is, this debut release sits cozily alongside the work of Pangaea and Ramadanman in the carefully cultivated discography of Hessle Audio. And considering the hyper-hype climate surrounding UK bass music right now, will be sufficient enough for the Blawan fan club to officially throw open its doors.