At fifteen John Heckle was playing nights in and around Liverpool, and a year later his first record was released thanks to boyhood hero Regis of Sandwell District fame. That was back in 2006, and he has since had time to be a resident at the Lemon Lounge and had a string of releases on Mathematics Recordings including Life on a Titan EP for which he won the 2012 Qwartz Electronic Music Award. Desolate Figures could bag him even more recognition.
Shimmering high hats and synths ease the album in on “Blindman’s Bluff”, with a progressive build up to a warm beat which gradually adopts a more industrial tone in preparation for “Inhuman Nature” which has hints of the most minimalist Detroit binded to a playful melody. Heckle’s producer who seems brimming with ideas and adopts an abrasive attitude on “Frankenstein’s Sweet Nectar” which drops the acid before hitting an uplifting electronica high The Chemical Brothers would be envious of.
How this translates back into his live show is an exciting prospect.
He continues to surprise with three-minute blast “Love-Lies” bouncing at the heart of Desolate Figures, then back to the beefy 4/4 with wandering keys on course for a techno-house nebula. Jeff Mills is clearly the inspiration for “Death of a Spaceman” which skits all over the place while pumping away. There’s more abrasive, metallic moments in “Crazy Metal” before the cosmic acid of “Never With You”, then final track “Power of Two” brings in the emotion for a dreamy close.
Heckle’s been known to perform live with an assortment of hardware, including Roland Drum Machines, and there is an obvious live influence on his music such is the inventive way he binds styles and sounds to produce such a varied album. How this translates back into his live show is an exciting prospect.