Festival of
Contemporary
Music & Arts

Alsisar Mahal, Rajasthan

28.3036° N, 75.2853° E

Ben UFO

A core characteristic of his approach is the infectious warmth and restless love of exploration, exemplified by his habit of meshing mind-bendingly strange tracks into peak-time sets.

Ben UFO founded Hessle Audio with Pearson Sound and Pangaea in 2007. He is one of the few DJs in the UK to make a name for himself solely as a DJ, without having entered the world of production.

Having cut his teeth in early dubstep and drum ’n bass, his roots lie in UK rave culture – yet his selections cast the net wider, drawing new mutations of this culture into the orbit of house, techno and other global dancefloor sounds. In the club, his sets somehow manage to be simultaneously considered and raucous, sliding from sidewinding broken rhythms into an irresistible four-to-the-floor groove, or broadsiding you with unexpected tangents, old favourites and bizarre secret weapons.

Thomson’s development as a DJ has been inextricably linked to the maturing of Hessle Audio, the label he co-founded in 2007 alongside Pearson Sound and Pangaea. Just as dubstep was starting to unfurl into a sprawling, globalised festival sound, Hessle Audio, in stark contrast, emerged with a strikingly focused, spacious and percussive aesthetic. As the scene continued to unravel, they went on to become one of the most coherent focal points within a rapidly diverging UK dance music community, through their DJ sets, label releases and radio shows on London station Rinse FM.

It’s refreshingly difficult to pin down what makes Ben’s DJing distinctive and exciting, whether you encounter it on the radio, in a recorded mix or on the dancefloor.

In the club, he shapes these elements into something rich and unpredictable, interspersing phases of driving momentum with joyful curveballs and ruptures in the flow that jolt you back to your senses — moments, as he describes it, that feel like coming up for air on the dancefloor.

You create your own universe as you go along. – Winston Churchill
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