In this, the latest Fragment interview, we stayed close to home, more specifically the Copenhagen borough of Nørrebro, where we had an in-depth conversation with up-and-coming producer/DJ Beastie Respond AKA Tobias Hjørnet Pedersen. This is what the Rinse.FM-featured, Blawan-remixed and progressively rising artist had to say about drum and bass, his enduring love for the 80s - and singing into an iPhone on the bus.
Labeling Beastie Respond a bass music producer wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. His allegiance does at least in part lie with drum and bass stalwarts like dBridge and the permutating sounds of Jon Convex and Boddika’s Instra:Mental Project. Then again, there are other pressing forces at play in Tobias Hjørnet Pedersen’s amalgamation of sounds. He makes no secret of his resilient, ongoing relationship with 80s music - a vibe that some would argue has been done to death many times over during the last decade.
However, this particular channeling of the sounds of the decade that cocaine, melancholy and bright-eyed electronic pop permeated more often than not brings about music that goes far beyond tired rehashing and is consequently greater than the sum of its parts. And at a time when the entire universe is crushing hard on 90s deep house, the insistent untimeliness of it all is somehow deliciously personal.
Moreover, the combination of minimal drum and bass with subtle electro-funk-isms mixed with faint echoes of The Cure and timeless house vocals creates a dense aural atmosphere that seems intensely preoccupied with the actual materiality of sound rather than the style and history that these sounds represent. It makes you wonder if the young Danish producer is in some way aiming his sonic experiments at particular centres of your brain to test the neuroscientific relationship between sound and mind.
In any case, after a few listens it to this sampler it quickly becomes apparent that Beastie respond’s music oozes soul from every crevice of its skillfully constructed, evocative body of work. Even though this is first and foremost synthesized music that owes a heavy debt to machine fetishists like Instra:mental, there is, for example, something unequivocally organic about tracks like ‘Wait for Me’ with its wonky, metallic snares and haunting, bittersweet synthlines.
All, in all you’d be well-advised to keep a watchful eye out for Beastie Respond. But don’t take it from us. Click play and let the young man explain himself.