Plenty of artists have explored the intersection between techno and drum ‘n’ bass in recent years, but nobody has settled on a sound so distinct as Pessimist’s own.
Releasing music since 2010, the artist – real name Kristian Jabs – first gained wider recognition as one-third of Ruffhouse: the Samurai Music-affiliated group responsible for giving the drum ‘n’ bass community a much-needed shake-up with their ultra-precise, ultra-dark halftime sound.
In recent years, Jabs has been more prolific as a solo artist, perfecting a unique, pitch-black sound that centres around razor-sharp drums, choking ambience, cavernous subs and very little else. In 2016, he found his spiritual home on Kiran Sande’s Blackest Ever Black imprint – first with low-key techstep anthem Balaklava, and then with his universally acclaimed debut album, Pessimist. Ranking highly on end of year lists everywhere (including our own), the album turned heads throughout the wider dance music community, indicating the arrival of an artist with a mature, fully-formed sound, refreshingly unbridled by tempo or genre.
Crack Mix 221 is populated entirely by Pessimist’s own unreleased productions, including music set for release on Osiris Music, UVB-76 and his new BEB sub-label, Pessimist Productions. The rhythms begin downtempo and rolling, moving up through to mid-tempo broken-beat techno, before finally landing on lithe drum ‘n’ bass. Whether you rinsed the album or are a newcomer to his sound, the mix stands as a perfect snapshot of Pessimist’s shadowy sonic universe.
Pessimist appears at the Samurai Showcase in Griessmühle during Krake Festival, Berlin, 24-31 July