48 hours in Bristol, Feb 2012.
The connection between place and musical expression is something that I have always been interested with. I often feel that I can see or sense the place which a piece of (usually underground) music has originated from – it’s basslines mapping out a sort of sonic relief and it’s atmospherics and percussion echoing those of the environment it was made in. Some of these places, specific cities or even towns, are legendary for their production of a distinctive sound- Hackney Grime, Croydon Dubstep, Detroit Techno, Chicago House. It’s “the rust in the water syndrome,” as legendary producer Theo Parrish says of the latter two cities in his neck of the woods, both consistent in their outpouring of great music.
If that’s the case, then surely there’s something in the water in the area of Bristol, UK too.
Addison Groove and Hyetal (pictured) are just a few of the city’s producers and residents successfully extending the city’s prolific creative lineage into 2012, a good thirty years after the “Bristol Sound,” and Trip Hop came into public consciousness with the likes of Smith & Mighty, Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead.
Not to say that Bristol’s musical history began in the late 80s, no, it runs far deeper than that, back to 70s punk and way beyond and can be attributed in part to the cities diverse ethnic community. And not to say that the Bristol producers of today sound exactly like the Bristol sound of their youth – far from it, but when listening to Hyetal and Massive Attack tunes back to back for example, there is to my ears, a certain something which marks their music as originating from the same place. It’s almost as if the music is infected with the highly distinctive Bristol air, climate and tones.