ON THE DECKS:
Reviewed by Piers Martin (NME)
When Hellfish first met The DJ Producer, they both knew it was the start of something special.
Maybe it was the look in Hellfish's eyes as he handed the record to The DJ producer at that fateful Helter Skelter rave back in 1995, daring him to play it. Maybe it was the respect they'd had for one another since the scene's early-'90s halcyon period. Maybe they just liked each other's haircuts.
Whatever the reason, the five-year DJing, production and drinking partnership of quiet 28-year-old Essex man Julian Cobb (Hellfish) and Bath-based Luke McMillan (The DJ Producer), 27, has ripped a swathe through the hardcore techno rave underground.
Today, after dozens of "sewer-level" releases on their own Deathchant and Rebel Scum labels, the pair are coming to terms with their first overtly commercial project: "Constant Mutation", a brutal mix album of seismic terror-techno hip-hop that rarely dips below 200bpm, for Mike "µ-Ziq" Paradinas' Planet µ imprint.
"The record is an encapsulation of the way we've brought ourselves through ten years of raving and we've now turned into the bastard sons of rave. this was the eventual outcome," enthuses McMillan. "Everything we've acquired knowledge-wise from the music we just beat together in one mass of energy. It was never preconceived, never like, "Oh we're gonna make music this fast". It just happened."
With tracks as uncompromisingly savage as their titles - "Head Grit", "Spitting Blood" - it's not a music for the faint-hearted or mentally fragile. While most DJs aim to take you on a journey, Hellfish & Producer complete the journey in record time, smash you over the head, lock you in the boot and then dump your body in a lay-by.
"You're either gonna love it or you're gonna fucking hate it!" grins McMillan, a globe-trotting hardcore DJ of ten years. "Either way we still get a result because it's about a reaction. If you've never heard this music before it'll take you a minute to adjust to it because you don't know what speed it's meant to be. Is it half-speed or double speed? Is double-speed really double-speed or is double-speed the right speed? You know what I'm saying?"
We get the idea, as do avant-rave luminaries like Aphex Twin and Paradinas, who frequently spin Hellfish & Producer's apocalyptic missives knowing full well that nothing damages a dancefloor with as much conviction. But can the authors of this deviant techno strain really claim to enjoy their twisted sound?
"I think it's great," asserts McMillan. "Use as many filthy words to describe it as you like, I love it. I believe in it so strongly because it has sustained me a living. It's not like we do it because we want to or we like to, we do it because we have to. I have to output it in the computer and make that horrible noise."
Hellfish & Producer: they are, always have been and always will be, hardcore.
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