Griping about dubstep seems pretty pointless at the moment – for almost every formulaic record on the shelves, there's another young, creative producer beating a much more interesting path. Norwich's Jack Stevens – better known as Sully – is justifiably seen as one of those individuals.
Tantalisingly doing the rounds on dub for long enough now, “Reminder” and “Jackman's Rec” should usher in Sully's biggest moment yet. Since Blackdown (AKA Martin Clark) included both in his end-of-year dubstep chart for Pitchfork, he and DJ partner Dusk have supported the tunes consistently on Rinse FM and at FWD>>, also featuring “Jackman's Rec” in their XLR8R magazine podcast last year.
“Reminder” has subsequently been deployed in sets by Ben UFO, Pangaea and Tomb Crew, the latter including it in their recent contribution to FACT magazine's respected mix series.
One of Sully's tricks is that his music never falls into predictable slots. “Reminder” might be a peak-time, late-summer skanker, but there isn't a clichéd reggae sample in earshot. Instead, it's closer to a translation of pioneering producer Pole's crackly dub abstractions into dancefloor form. “Jackman's Rec” is a velvety roller that on one level, is the best example so far of how Sully's intuition for swing allows him to nail the dark sensuality of early FWD>> beats. Yet at the same time, it's in no way trapped in nostalgia for that era, simply sounding like the next step for future garage.
*IDJ Magazine (RIP) review "Another sterling example of the way 2-step has been reimagined for the 20th century, Sully drops two chunky tracks on Frijsfo, upholding the label's tradition of crafty beat mangling. ‘Jackmans Recs’ is tight as you like, while not the most starkly original groove, but on ‘Reminder’ Sully’s unique qualities shine through with a delicious guitar lick sure to get every ass in the room shaking. 8/10" (Oli Warwick)