John Heckle serves up his third long player, and his second to drop on the excellent Tabernacle Records imprint. “Tone to Voice” finds Heckle in trademark futuristic analogue sci-fi form with eleven tracks spread across two twelve inches. Each side follows a theme – starting with a more beat laden dance floor ready track and finishing with more ambient and relatively percussion free pieces.
And it’s these ambient tracks that are almost the LP highlight – so good that you may be left wishing for a pure ambient Heckle album at some point in the near future. “Salient Pole Restrictor” unfolds resonant melodies across a church organ parade whilst “Artifice” skulks across unknown planetary surfaces in search of alien life. “Outward Lead” orbits the Kuiper Belt with a distant kick drum attempting to break through the gauze whilst album closer, “Darkly Down The Cellar Steps Again“, is as gentle and tear inducing as they come.
If you’re a fan of Heckle’s dance floor orientated live sets then you’ll find plenty to enjoy here too. “Moon” thrums abstract synth jazz across propulsive arps whilst “Sonic Spectrometer” flies us through a colourful land of electro goodness. Alongside “Obsidian Citiscape” these tracks can’t help but remind me of Electro Soma era B12.
It’s this overall aesthetic that appeals so much – a modern take on influences drawn from Detroit and early ’90s Birmingham, Sheffield and Liverpool techno experimentation. Part nostalgic, part futuristic – yet really just excellent inventive electronic music.
Tone to Voice is out now, pick up a vinyl copy from Juno.
A2 Sonic Spectrometer
A3 Salient Pole Rotor
B1 Potential Landscape
B2 Obsidian Cityscape
C2 Outward Lead
D1 Remote Access Brainwave
D2 What Doesn’t Kill You Doesn’t Make You Anything
D3 Darkly Down The Cellar Steps Again