Russell Haswell – ‘Tongue Dancer ’85’ 12″ [Editions Mego]

So while we’re still waiting to hear the new full length from Russell Haswell on Diagonal (it’s in a pile of awesome shit at the moment) it’s worth shouting about this limited 12″ that dropped on Editions Mego recently. Limited to 300 copies it’s a fitting tribute to the famed EMS Studios in Sweden where the track was written and recorded.

Haswell as an artist creates some of the best leftfield compositions on offer. A lot of his stuff goes way out there, sometimes taking days of listening to fully relate to. When he dips back in to releasing collaborations, remixes or solo records that we can get away with playing between techno, it can feel like some form of fan service…but damn the results are good.

Based in Coventry, Haswell is one those artists that we love to see live, played a lot of, but never really gone in to depth on. As a multi-disciplinary artist you see his name appearing on exhibitions as often as records, and letting the art forms talk for themselves generally means that we’ve never dug down on his background despite a discography going back to 1997.

Tongue Dancer ’85 is a single sided 12″ consisting of an 11 minute title cut that is live machine music at it’s best. Recorded with ALM, Tiptop Audio, and SERGE modular gear, it’s all about the analogue improvisation, with the basic beat being sounding like it came from a basic Roland drum box and operating as the consistent backbone to let the rest of the synth sounds go nuts.

And go nuts they do, as Haswell twists the modulation in timing and sounds, relentlessly experimenting live as if he’s searching for something that fits. I’m not sure if he’s in possession of the gift of ADD, but the tracks synth layers are laced with a relentless shift in direction, always sitting uncomfortably on edge of the backing beat and never quite finding a comfortable groove, which is the personality of this great record.