Response – Tell Me/Only U
Words by Matthew Scott
Klute, the man who owns the label with unquestionably the best PR blurbs in the game, has a penchant for recruiting some of the most talented yet paradoxically understated artists to release on Commercial Suicide. He was one of the first to sign tunes from Geordie tastemakers Chroma, nabbed Quadrant, Kid Hops, and Iris’ debut LP, and let’s not forget was sticking out release after release by Amit long before Heist’s ‘I Need Killers’ apparently signalled the beginning of drumstep. One of the artists he’s pushed in recent years is the absolutely amazing Response, who was first discovered by that other shrewdly successful unearther of hidden gems Ingredients Records. First there was the ‘Riot’ EP with Digital, and then his own ‘It’s Not OK’ single following in 2016. They were both pretty slewing to be honest: with ‘It’s Not OK’ itself a proper leviathan that continues to hold its own against the old menacing growlers of Spirit, Loxy, and Dom. However, his latest release on Suicide could not be more different, and showcases the kaleidoscopic talents the Manchester producer has between his ears.
This one, a single ‘Tell Me/Only U’ which will be released on Suicide on the 30th of June, comprises golden, luscious cuts that roll right into the part of my soul which, when tickled appropriately, croons with utter pleasure and ecstasy. They are like Calibre without the patience. They are light, airy rollers of the highest quality that nonetheless still pack one heck of a punch around the knee-high bass frequencies. The closest approximation in recent years to these is some of Phil Tangent’s bits, or the whole back catalogue of the sorely-missed Mars Recordings, little sister of Ingredients. Or, if you like Artificial Intelligence’s Integral label, this will also be for you.
‘Tell Me’ opens with dreamy, city-in-the-skies stabs and floaty pads straight out Seba’s most jealously guarded locker, and descends subtly into a beautiful little roller with a delicious, delicious slowly throbbing bassline. The little vocal snippets delicately placed over the top are similarly gorgeous, bringing the whole thing together in a pantheon of self-caressing joy. We like to describe tunes nowadays as ‘eyes down skank’ or some variant on that, but this is the opposite, a kind of ‘eyes up float’ – the kind of tune which, when it drops, turns your forehead skywards and compels you to close your eyes as you do so, allowing your neck to loll around carelessly while you absorb the vibes. A liquid-esque roller that is nonetheless so much more than a liquid tune, it’s one of the best of its kind for some time.
‘Only U’ steps rather than rolls. It’s strange that in the world of DnB, describing something as a stepper or a roller immediately tells you a lot of what you need to know about a tune. Similarly floaty pads greet you on arrival, but once again it’s mostly all about that pumping, throbbing bassline and the careful hums and squirms of vocal that churn over and over the top of the beat. This one grows and grows and grows too, extra layers blanketed on top to wind up the intensity as it strolls blissfully towards the second breakdown. As I’ve noted, it’s a big departure from tunes like ‘It’s Not OK’, or ‘Dopamine’, or any of the other evil, channelling-the-spirit-of-Nico-and-Trace tunes he’s released recently, but if you clocked the understated beauty of the concluder to his ‘Dopamine’ EP, called ‘Affected’, you’ll enjoy these too.
It’s often the places you least expect that you find your favourite releases of the year. When I first listened to this, I nailed my chair to the floor and strapped myself to the wall in anticipation of being knocked into the middle of next week by another Response stomper. How refreshing, and utterly fantastic, that what I got instead made me smile lazily like a dog being patted on the top of its head in the sun. One thing’s for sure, will be rolling this one out well into the summer months, and beyond.
Tell Me/Only U is released on the 30th of June on Klute’s Commercial Suicide imprint. Grab it here.