Paul Blackford – Return of the Bionic Bassline / Tudor Beats

As a man whose main introduction to electronic music was through DnB, faster tempos have always attracted me.

The first time I heard Paul Blackford, I knew he would be a name I’d keep an eye on in the future – combining electro beats and 170bpm speeds was always going to grab my attention.

Now, ten years on from his first release 1991‘ on Ed DMX’s Breakin’, he follows up his recent Dream Sequence EP on Tudor Beats with this full length (available as a digital download and limited 5.1 DVD) with the incredibly appropriate catalogue number TB-909.

Opener All I Ever Wanted is a floaty and dream-like opener. Fast without creating a desire to mosh, and it works well as an introduction, before track two Channel Zwei completely flips the vibe. The simple two-note bassline creates a vibe not dissimilar to an early Virus Recordings track. Swapping the funk breaks for simple, quantised hardware sounds.

The tracks aren’t overly dense – Blackford does a wonderful job of keeping the attention with a minimal number of sounds, and very few drum edits or fills; the sound varies through the introduction and dropping of various layers, rather than constant tweaking and modulation. Despite this, the tracks convey a decent variety of moods – ED-209 is as dark as you’d expect, with an interesting thuddy snare. While Hackney Marshes is (somewhat unsurprisingly) bouncier. Ghetto Blaster adds delayed, filtered bleeps to the mix, creating an initial vibe not too far from Drexciya at 78rpm.

Admittedly, it’s not the most varied album – the tracks are all roughly the same tempo, and the drum sounds and synths all share a particular feel, but that’s the deal with Blackford’s sound; either you get it, or you don’t.

If you do, there’s lots here to like. If you don’t, it’s unlikely that any one track will change your mind.

If you’re not sure, check out the title track. A perfect summary of Paul’s styles – a dark, catchy bassline over snappy, steppy electro drums. If you don’t enjoy that, the rest of the album won’t appeal. But then there was probably no hope for you to begin with.

Paul Blackford – Return of the Bionic Bassline

Paul Blackford – All I Ever Wanted
Paul Blackford – Channel Zwei
Paul Blackford – Atomic Robo-Kid
Paul Blackford – Buccaneer
Paul Blackford – ED-209
Paul Blackford – Hackney Marshes
Paul Blackford – Ghetto Blaster
Paul Blackford – Return of the Bionic Bassline
Paul Blackford – Secret Formula
Paul Blackford – 1985


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