Monday, December 13, 2010

Peverelist: Bringing Machines to Life

Peverelist is quite possibly my favourite producer. Forget producer, let’s use the more rockist-friendly term ‘artist.’ Peverelist is quite possibly my favourite artist. It's an honour to initiate my own little venture, Futureproofing, with help from him: there are few artists who inhabit the very space of what I would like to lay out with this website better than Peverelist, whose music effortlessly reconciles respectful traditionalism with uncanny futurism.

As humble and reserved as his careful and precise music is, he doesn’t seem like a prime candidate for someone’s favourite artist: until you discover the totality of his small body of music, or more importantly the paradigm-changing dialogue he has brought to dubstep and the larger world of UK dance music. The man from Bristol known to the outside world as Tom Ford makes a brand of dubstep that is almost insufferably purist, yet it's as experimental, risky and visionary as any of the most boundary-destroying music at dubstep's many peripheries. He's also a bit of a city kingpin, perhaps best known for managing Bristol's most beloved record shop, the legendary Rooted Records: to Bristol bass music what Big Apple was to dark garage and early dubstep in Croydon.

His only solo release this past year, the "Better Ways Of Living" / "Fighting Without Fighting" twelve on Punch Drunk, is also my favourite record of the year, and it's not a bad emblem for his sound in more general terms. Spare and minimal, it quakes with a formidable intensity that's implied rather than expressed, reflecting his considerable mastery over subtlety. The best Peverelist tracks are those that assume the least: the most unsuspecting, the most innocent. Perhaps best of all is 2009's "Clunk Click Every Trip," -- which for me is an easy contender for tune of the decade -- where Peverelist's obfuscated techno leanings are brought out in full force for an 8-minute journey that's cosmic without being kosmiche or anything else similarly trendy. Best of all, the b-side harboured one of Peverelist's most outright dub tunes, the lanky clank of "Gather" which couldn't be farther removed from the spatial abstraction of CCET.

Peverelist's music sounds like it's carved from stone, lithe bits of rock that reverberate and shake in place when struck, but never, ever moving out of line. He's at once a pioneering force in dubstep, moving farther and farther away from traditionalist views of the genre while carrying its hotly-burning flame with a passion: while so many in recent years are quick to distance themselves from 'dubstep,' Peverelist is committed to the genre even as his music spills outward in several fantastic configurations. The (vinyl-only, as ever) exclusive mix he's provided here to initiate Futureproofing in fine style is an excellent overview of his sound in 2010 and beyond: containing a number of new Peverelist dubplates mixed in with some like-minded favourites. The incredible vocal-driven contribution from lesser-known producer Kähn rubs elbows with the greyscale house of Dave Huismanns (A Made Up Sound, 2562) and Kowton, while Peverelist's own productions show him furthering the rhythmic abstraction and exploring the extremes of dubstep/techno/house while staying firmly embedded in the nourishing environment of dub music. It sounds old, like this mix could have been recorded in the early nineties, found on a half-dead cassette in an abandoned box. But the beats are unrelentingly inventive, satisfying, and exciting: it perfectly embodies Futureproofing's nascent ethos of having a hand stuck in the past while grasping at the unknown future. You can download this exclusive mix from Peverelist as well as read a brand new interview with Futureproofing's favourite artist after the jump.

Peverelist's Punch Drunk label is one of the very best nominally "dubstep" labels, releasing a number of his own productions, heavily melodic and grime-influenced material from Gemmy and Guido, and the best of Bristol don Rob Smith's dubstep explorations as RSD.  It's released three landmark artist albums: RSD's Good Energy, Peverelist's Jarvik Mindstate (one of the most unfriendly but fully-realized dubstep full-lengths), and Guido's Anidea (paradoxically one of the most friendly and inviting dubstep full-lengths).  Peverelist just finished compiling and releasing the massive Worth The Weight compilation, which surveyed the past half-decade of Bristol expertly and convincingly, and the label celebrated its landmark twentieth release with a dumbfounding selection of two near-beatless tracks from Bristol sound artist Ekoplekz.  All of this makes for a label that is as unpredictable as it is consistent, and one that I profiled in-depth back in my days at

Now that the year is coming to a close, what were the biggest events for you in 2010?
Peverelist: It's all about the little things: that special DJ set you catch, the little events, or that record that pops up out of nowhere and catches your ear. I am all about 2011 now. I've got some interesting projects lined up and will be launching my new web shop too. [EDIT: Since the time of the interview, the webstore is now open and ready for business]. Punch Drunk rolls on. I don't have grand plans. It's an underground thing and that's what we represent. I put a lot of effort into the Guido longplayer [Anidea] and the Worth the Weight CD compilation, and tried to balance those releases with the eclectic series of twelves.

The Ekoplekz release is quite unique for Punch Drunk, a label that was already quite experimental. How did you come across Ekoplekz? What made you want to release his music, and how do you think it fits in? 

P: I've known Ekoplekz for a a number of years through the Bristol music underground. When he presented me with some of the music he'd been creating for the Ekoplekz project, I was blown away and really excited by the prospect of putting together a release. I wanted to do something special, a standout for the 20th release, and it made perfect sense. I don't think he has many, if any, contemporaries -- it's quite stand-out. I think it fits with the other music we've released, not obviously in a sonic way, but certainly in that it does fit the ethos of the label, representing local artists influenced by sound system culture, dub, and electronic music. There was a movement in the UK fusing electronics and dub ideas before imported house and techno made its mark, and Ekoplekz takes direct influence from where they left off. I am really into his approach which is, in many ways, the complete antithesis of contemporary music. He doesn't have a sequencer so doesn't spend hours fine tuning automations, it much more spontaneous, which I think brings the music to life so it doesn't have that calculated and preconceived feel. That certainly resonates with some of my own ideas of bringing machines to life.

You recently put together the Worth the Weight compilation, what drove the decision to create that compilation?

P: It fits with the part-documentary nature of the label. It was also a fitting time to tie together some of the music that had come out of the city of over the past half-decade. I also wanted to represent an alternative to the context-less wash of corporate dubstep compilations hitting the shops.

London seems to be moving more and more towards sounds more infused with house and garage and even hip-hop. How do you feel about the scene in Bristol at the end of 2010? Do you feel like dubstep is still alive and well or is it something else now?

P: It's really easy to get caught up in the semantics of dubstep. I know what I mean by that term, but I also realise it isn't what most dubstep fans mean by that word. The easiest way to answer your question is to say that underground UK music is alive and well in all its forms, taking in influences from all around like it always has done. It is fluid and evolving and open. Having said that, even though dubstep is bigger than ever, the underground scene feels like it's back at where it was five years ago. The most interesting music is what I find at nights where there are maybe only thirty or fifty people. Dubloaded is pretty much the only dubstep night in Bristol that I check but there are other great non-genre-specific nights popping up all the time.

Your two releases this year -- "Better Ways Of Living" and "The Hum" with Hyetal -- have seen you exploring further junglist dub reductions and twitchy IDM influences, respectively (at least that's how I see it). What does the future hold for Peverelist productions and where can we expect your sound to go?

P: I ask myself that every day! I am just continuing to do the music that I love. It's just bass and drum rhythms really, as simple as that. It's not fashionable, I am not trying to be anything or follow any trends, I'm just doing my thing and being my own voice.

Peverelist: Futureproofing December 2010

1. Kähn 'Like We Used To' (Dub)
2. A Made Up Sound 'Rear Window' (Delsin)
3. Kowton 'She Don't Jack' (Idle Hands)
4. T++ 'Cropped' (Honest Jons)
5. Peverelist 'Fundamentals' (Dub)
6. Shake 'Drummer Downstairs' (Fit Sound)
7. Peverelist 'Dance til the Police Come' (Dub)
8. Peverelist 'Livity' (Dub)
9. Emptyset 'Red Sun' (Peverelist mix) (Dub)
10. Bass Clef 'Rollercoasters of the Heart' (Dub)
11. Andy Mac 'Every Time' (Dub)
12. Kähn 'Helter Skelter' (Dub)
13. Ekoplekz 'Stalag Zero' (Punch Drunk)


After managing the Rooted Records store, Peverelist now has his own Punch Drunk Music online store, which sells his own label's wares in addition to other fine releases.  Both Worth The Weight and Ekoplekz' twelve are out now on Punch Drunk and available pretty much everywhere on vinyl and digital.


  1. great interview! good luck with the blog!

  2. congrats on the new blog andrew. thanks for keeping shit real :)

  3. nice interview man.

  4. nice interview. Tom is such a lovely fella as well as a really great artist. So sad to see the impending demise of Rooted though, he made that in to a truly great independent store. As someone who has lived all over the country and moved to Bristol about 4 years ago i can truly say it was the best independent record shop i ever had the pleasure of throwing my hard earned cash at. Walks home from work won't be the same without dropping in there for the latest magic wax. That said, good luck with the new store Tom!

  5. Nice interview + massive mix!

    Off to a good start I'd say.

  6. Just finished listening to the mix. Ace work, Peverelist. I'm a big fan of what Ekoplekz is doing.