Ecstatic Anti-Rave Music: Tessela – "Nancy's Pantry"
by Dave Segal
on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM
The last 18 hours or so have teemed with dozens of minor annoyances and disappointments—the latter including almost every song that publicists have emailed during that timespan—all of which have added up to putting me in a major funk. But that bummer aura somewhat subsided this afternoon with the collision of Tessela’s track “Nancy’s Pantry” and my ears.
I didn’t know anything about Tessela till now (he's a relatively new UK producer named Ed Russell), and “Nancy’s Pantry” is not an auspicious title. But I’ve been loving Tessela’s label, R&S, since the early ’90s (oh, those early Aphex Twin cuts…), so I gave the tune a chance. Holy holy, is it great. (And just now, another goddamn work-related problem has arisen…)
“Nancy’s Pantry” starts with some fucking heavy, sluggish industrial beats that immediately clamp to your ears with death-grip importance. Tessela builds simmering anticipatory excitement with silences, hesitations, crisp claps, and a funkily fractured “Amen” break. “Nancy’s Pantry” eventually shifts into a ratcheting machine groove that’s laced with hypnotic, grating metallic sighs and stabbing rave-keyboard epiphanies. A hard-won ecstasy—devoid of sentimentality—oozes from this track, against great odds.
This day can go fuck itself raw, but at least now I know about the fantastic Tessela and his strength-giving music.