There’s a quite rumbling resonating from Manchester, barely loud enough to hear unless you’ve got your ear pressed firmly to the Lancashire soil. The source of the noise is from one man and his MPC, the rather elusive producer BE (a.k.a Garth Be). He makes house music, but not as you might know it; augmented in its own imperfections, requiring deeper exploration to fully appreciate its worth. Informed by Manchester’s rich dance music heritage, it’s channeled into a low-slung, off-kilter, jazz-inflected interpretation of the genre that draws comparisons with Theo Parrish supergroup Rotating Assembly, or Bristol’s Jay-L.
After showing early promise in 2007, with a release for StiLove4Music, a series of personal setbacks forced music to take a back-seat until he a return in 2013 for Hudd Traxx. 2014 was the monumental year for BE, after releasing his debut album, Seven Movements. Privately pressed and self-released, it ended up second in Piccadilly Records’ Albums of the Year list, and fifth in Phonica’s, drawing comparisons to luminaries like Moodymann, Floating Points, Kyle Hall and Trus’me for its innovative approach to house music. It was a turning point in BE’s mindset, liberating him from the uncertainty and self-doubt that had overshadowed previous work.
H I P N O T O N Y is the follow-up, released again on his vinyl-only Sweet Sticky imprint, arriving in a beautiful screen-printed sleeve. With a title that merges ‘hypnotic’ with ‘monotony’, the use of repetition throughout the album should be no surprise; indeed BE stares these elements straight in the face and makes subtle transformations that reward new discoveries on every listen.
Set in a dark, smokey Manchester backroom, deep in the imagination, the album twists and turns from the calming openers to the more bouncey middle section, the odd deep house venture and an ending that oscillates between ambience and dark jazz. It makes it difficult to pick a standout to premiere, one that encapsulates the album to first-time listeners. With our hand well and truly twisted, we’ve opted for ‘Sweetunder’, where BE goes to work on his MPC, blending obscure jazz and funk samples, with twisted percussion. We’d premiere the whole thing if we could but that would just be greedy, and also make it far too easy to enjoy the work of a producer who likes to challenge the idea of taking things immediately the face value.