Charles Webster produced great music throughout the ’90s, especially under his Presence monicker. Webster started off in Sheffield, England, producing tracks for seminal UK house outfit T-CUT-F, which put out a couple of house tunes on Neil Rushton’s Kool Kat label. Rushton was the guy who put together the Techno: The New Dance Sound of Detroit compilation on Ten Records and who advised Juan Atkins to use the term ‘techno’ instead of calling the record The New House Sound Of Detroit, effectively naming an entire genre. Atkins had a cut on the record called “Techno Music.” T-Cut-F had tracks licensed to Ten Records in the UK and also to Kevin Saunderson’s KMS Records offshoot Spinnin’ Records — the label that put out Eddie Fowlkes’ “Time To Express.“
Webster moved to Nottingham sometime in the late ’80s or early ’90s and began work as the in-house engineer for Square Dance Studios there. Here he worked on projects for the t:me label and collaborated on a wide range of music that was released on labels such as Strictly Rhythm (Nice Psycho), Happy Tracks (UR’s garage, side label) and Strictly 4 Groovers, which was run by the Nottingham-based DJ collective DIY.
In 1993 Webster absconded to San Francisco with some of these DIY types and got busy in the Bay Area with a project, and a label, called Love From San Francisco. This is the label where the Presence project began and Webster produced more amazing tunes under that monicker, including the sublime “Sense of Danger,” which featured Shara Nelson of Massive Attack on vocals. DJ Profile was a name Webster started using when he established his Remote label after moving back to the UK. The Simpletone EP was released in 2001 on the French label sound of Barclay. It is very good and you should have it.
Sound Of Barclay/France/12
Charles Webster, the man behind the Love From San Francisco and Remote labels and the Presence project, applies himself to lush, minimal techno and house. All four tracks will appeal to those weaned on the likes of Basic Channel or Perlon. Unlike many of his recent tracks, Webster doesn’t overthink the production side and moulds a subtle rawness that will generate momentum on the dancefloor thanks to thick basslines, swinging beats, and warm keyboard textures. All this, and it’s value for the money, with four very usable tracks that will work for techno, house, or garage DJs. The second track on side 1,”A Pair of Fools,” is storming and will create the abstract funk feeling that is missing in a lot of modern house clubs. Chris Orr