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Since 2010, Bristol's Kristian Jabs has quietly been releasing boundary-pushing drum'n'bass under the name Pessimist. Recalling Photek and Source Direct, his tracks contain carefully considered, razor-sharp beat patterns cutting a path through lush, echoing bass and an overwhelming amount of space. His tracks are clearly not the type of punishing bombers that Panacea or the No U-Turn crew used to make back in the late '90s, but they still instill a heavy sense of dread. As with producers such as ASC, Ancestral Voices, and dBridge, Pessimist tends to blur the lines between drum'n'bass, techno, and ambient, exploring headier spaces and slipping away from DJ friendliness. Following his excellent minimalist roller "Balaklava," released in 2016 by Blackest Ever Black's A14 sublabel, Pessimist jumps to BEB proper with his self-titled full-length debut. In between the crackling fog that begins and ends the album, Jabs constructs heavily suspenseful atmospheres, with bass prowling underneath the surface. On tracks like "Bloom," the breakbeats take several minutes to show up, and while they aren't the heaviest breaks in the world, they're enough to jar listeners out of the hypnotic state they've been transfixed into, and into an even deeper one. Tracks such as "Grit" and "Peter Hitchens" refashion Jabs' metallic beats and foreboding moods into thumping, irregular techno, making things slightly more dancefloor-compatible, but maintaining the thick tension. Pessimist saves two of his biggest guns for the end of the album. "No Matter What" (featuring Overlook) is a deeply brooding track with pounding, sporadic beats and pulse-quickening bass. "Through the Fog" is perhaps the most "traditional" drum'n'bass track here, with choppier breaks, dislocated vocal samples, and a more linear sense of progression, but it packs a huge punch and sounds anything but conventional.
|Label:||Blackest Ever Black|