Hell Hath No Fury…

Klute aka Tom Withers

– like a woman scorned”. This quote (taken from William Congreve’s play ‘The Mourning Bride’ – not from Shakespeare, contrary to popular belief) was used to title a seminal release on Commercial Suicide back in 2005. On the production here is a producer that goes by the name of Klute. Heads will be well acquainted with the low-profile artist, but for many, London-based producer/DJ/CS label-owner Tom Withers remains to be an obscure identity in electronic music. Despite this, Withers’ production is second to none, a true pioneer of old-style liquid, his music is characterised by painfully refined and varied drum loops and uplifting hooks. Many of his productions have come to epitomise old-school liquid, a genre that reached it’s zenith during the mid to late ’90s and has sadly died since. Yet listening to his music is still refreshing, if not sensitively nostalgic at the same time. One thing that is rare with producers is consistency and quality. Despite Klute’s limited number of releases (compared to  other more prolific artists such as Noisia and High Contrast), he manages to sustain a solid catalogue of tracks that are both incredibly well produced, and unmistakably his. There is something in Withers’ music that remains true to himself as an artist and he manages to maintain a certain fidelity to his music that is not very often seen. Hell Hath No Fury is a perfect representation of this, listen to it here:

The Amen break. Possibly the best thing since sliced bread.

The flipside to this is Learning Curve which is actually the first track on the EP.  Different vibes display subtle but versatile changes in production skills, heard clearly from the start. This one is a bit of a roller, a more relentless bassline drives the track forward, with support from the guitar ostinato (repeating figure).
Both as a producer and a DJ Klute manages to maintain a healthy balance of influences across his work. I actually managed to catch half of his set at Outlook Festival (2012) in Croatia this Summer and was impressed with how he followed on from Calibre’s set. It was dark, upfront, and almost intimidating; he wasn’t taking shit from anyone.  Embellished with hints of minimal – that classic D:Bridge sound – he managed to hold is own, despite the diminishing crowd. But it is just this that so finely demonstrates Klute’s ability to capture the vast array of hues and colours that D&B can offer; you have releases such as ‘Our Leader’ (released in 2007 on the album The Emperor’s New Clothes); both soulful and searching, it’s addictive hook seethes with melancholy. Yet completely on the other end of the spectrum we have tracks like ‘Hidden Hand’ which is just straight up D&B, darker with clear influences from Jungle and Breakcore.
I hope to do a full artist’s profile of Klute in a future post where I will go into greater depth about his music, highlight some other must-listen releases and contextualise him within the genre, but for now I hope this will get you interested. ‘Our Leader’ and ‘Hidden Hand’ can be listened to below: