With the exception of perhaps Jamie XX, no other producer has shown the ability to navigate the strains of UK bass with such a keen sense for melody and seemingly miss-matched sounds (steel drums, other island-reminiscent bells, and Casio-esque organs make regular appearances) as Hackman. The young Londoner adds two new tracks to his impressive run of garage-influenced tunes with his latest single, "Agree to Disagree" b/w "Sunburst," and effectively gives us a preview of what to expect from his forthcoming debut LP, As Above, So Below.
Things get off to a bit of an unexpected start with a "Radio Edit" of the a-side, which takes up the single's first three and a half minutes, but it's easy to see why "Agree to Disagree" was an appropriate tune to truncate, considering that it's about as pop as UK bass music can get. The meat of Hackman's almost-six-minute long-form version, which appears next in the track order, exhibits well-paced build-ups patiently spread throughout its arrangement. This precise layering of elements that begins as a dark, energized slice of modern house—complete with some tasteful vocal chops—and eventually culminates into an anthemic combination of chopped bells, buzzing synths, and inescapable stepping rhythms is what makes "Agree to Disagree" such a worthwhile listen.
The b-side offering is even more impressive—folding a generous amount of blissful house vibes into Hackman's noted slant on modern garage. The "Sunburst" title is entirely too appropriate, as any combination of sun-related descriptors could give you a sense of the sonic warmth at the track's core. But this is not entirely what makes all of its six-plus minutes so compelling. Rather, it's once again because of the way Hackman brings his production together, fluidly moving through the different phases with a natural sense for cultivating dynamic peaks and valleys despite never reaching a particular grand theme.
With these two impressive productions serving as the preview for what will be the burgeoning artist's debut LP, one wonders how the young producer will expand on his ideas in the full-length format, and—maybe more importantly—if it's even possible to top the two tracks presented on this single. Needless to say, there's now even more anticipation to hear the results.