By The Guardian.
When you listen to a Larry Heard track, the first thing that hits you is the bassline: elastic, erotic, condemned to endlessly repeat itself. It may dart distractedly from place to place, climb upwards only to fall back to where it started, and always sound sad and fraught, but it presses doggedly on. It’s an existential crisis you can dance to.
The cosmic bassline on the 1986 smash Can You Feel It helped open acid house’s spiritual dimension; on 1987’s Bring Down the Walls, the bassline chafes against the kick drums to create claustrophobia amid a song of freedom. Last year, fellow Chicagoan Kanye West slowed down the bassline of Heard’s Mystery of Love for his track Fade, in thrall to its nagging power.
These are some of dance music’s greatest statements, but Heard, down the line from his home in Memphis and preparing for a summer of festival dates, couldn’t be more self-effacing, crediting the designers of his electronic hardware instead of himself. “It was the guys at Moog, Arp, Sequential Circuits; I was just on the consumer side of it. All I knew is I had a new gadget, it had knobs, and it sounded great; it wasn’t as deep as everyone wanted to believe it was!”