Feb 1, 2015

Sundaze 1505


More atmospheric Sundaze with ambient and techno influences....DeepChord, for the neophyte, is Rod Modell (assisted by Mike von Schommer), synthesizing an amalgam of Detroit (Modell’s techno base) and Berlin, back-channelling (basically) Detroit and, from beyond, Kingston, Jamaica. Echospace is… well, largely more of the same, only with Soultek’s Steve Hitchell as Modell’s co-pilot. ......N'joy

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Rod Modell is best known as DeepChord, the creative force behind popular dub techno records such as Vantage Isle and The Coldest Season, but that moniker is just the tip of the iceberg. Modell’s back catalogue is enormous, encompassing ambient and sound-art releases on obscure labels which even the Discogs radar doesn't pick up: imprints such as Silentes, Hypnos, Amplexus, Linear Logic and Silver to name a few.

Rod was in Detroit during the birth of techno in the mid-to-late ‘80s. Charles Johnson’s Mothership landings (10 pm) and his Midnight Funk Association were rarely ever missed. I experienced the Music Institute first-hand, and was buying tons of vinyl at Buy Rite Music years before Record Time sold a single techno record. I was there. Ditto for Steve in regards to Chicago. He personally knows many of the original purveyors of the Chicago house and acid sound. I think it would be impossible to ignore the obvious fact that there is some definite significance to this allegory. We are all a product of our experiences whether we want to be or not. The things that we’ve seen are part of our fabric. Chicago House is part of Steve’s makeup, as is Detroit Techno for me. Add in the Berlin element, and you have the holy trinity of underground dance music represented.

Rod & Steve like analog because it’s alive. Rod" I used to love putting my old Korg MS-20 outside in the cold garage for a few hours during the winter months. I would then bring it inside the warm house, power it up, and program something simple with a SQ-10 sequencer, and that little twelve-step sequence would mutate for two hours. Constantly changing. It was amazing to me. You would leave the room, and come back and it would sound totally different. So organic and so alive. Its personality would change as it warmed up and became more comfortable, just like a human being’s would.A lso, this old gear generates amazing harmonics and overtones that I’ve never heard from a computer. Even algorithms designed to emulate this analog side-effect fail miserably. These elements add up to a sound quality that’s impossible to achieve without this old gear and, as this sound is an integral part of Echospace, we don’t have an option: it’s either use the old stuff, or don’t make music."

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the fellows in Berlin's Rhythm & Sound camp will have no problem endorsing Detroit-based Deepchord as their dub-techno heir apparent. Already an established ambient producer, Rod Modell partnered with Mike Schommer, quietly releasing their first 12" together in the late '90s. Like Rhythm & Sound, Deepchord based their compositions around minimal arrangements: repetitive rhythms inspired by dub, faint traces of white noise, and warm synth stabs. The group retained a loyal cult following, releasing several more singles in the early 2000s as well as a limited-run CD version of their first six releases (originally pressed up in extremely limited quantities). The duo's production went from prolific to a screeching halt around 2002, making a remarkable and rare live performance at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival and releasing singles in a scarce fashion (the group's 2006 single was only pressed to 100 copies). A retrospective of the group's work, Vibrasound, was issued under Modell's name and released on the Silentes label in 2005. Later that year, Modell teamed with Kevin Hanton to release Illuminati Audio Science and used a generous portion of the group's output, looped and sliced into small segments (much like Richie Hawtin's DE9 experiments), for a continuous 70-minute mix CD.

In 2007, Modell teamed with Stephen Hitchell, aka Soultek, for what would go on to be one of his most commercially successful projects, Echospace (also the name of a new label he started at the same time). Its debut album, The Coldest Season, was released on cult British label Modern Love and featured one of the most deconstructed interpretations of the Basic Channel sound ever released, its dubby, decayed textures swathed in shrouds of tape hiss. The 2010 follow-up Liumin (a Chinese personal name) was a greater success still, even as it played up this "destroyed" sound yet more, turning hundreds of hours of field recordings made in China into an unrecognizable murk. In 2011 Modell, now piloting Deepchord solo, signed to legendary Glasgow label Soma, which issued what was actually the first ever "proper" Deepchord album, Hash-Bar Loops. A period of intense creativity followed and 2012 saw the release both of another Echospace album, Silent World -- the soundtrack to an experimental film produced by Modell himself -- and the Deepchord follow-up Sommer. In 2013 20 Electrostatic Soundfields which features recordings made from 2008-2012 in cities such as Amsterdam and Barcelona saw the light. Very hypnotic and hazy sounds which are perfect for when you just want to listen to ambient soundscapes DC style. I'm not really a fan of the extra short (minute) tracks but it shows that Rod is experimenting with different outcomes in order to create a very succinct record. The latest release Laterns delivered more deep spaced out grooves from Mr Modell, very washed out percussion and woozy hypnotic, tripped out atmospheres.

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There are legion imitators, but few artists are capable of sculpting dub-techno as sensuous, immersive and lastingly rewarding as that produced by Rod Modell. Historically the Deepchord man's finest work has arisen from his collaborations with Steve Hitchell as Echospace, but here he flies solo and acquits himself beautifully, delivering twelve pensive studies in shimmering, kickdrum-powered aquatic ambience. As if it wasn't already obvious, the title leaves you in no doubt: this is an album designed for smokers' delight, and appropriately enough the record was largely conceived when Modell spent an extended period kotching in Amsterdam. The Deepchord sound is already well-established - a huge debt to the work of Moritz von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, loping grooves with tautly funked drums emerging from deliciously thick, cloying clouds of reverb - and Modell's Dutch "research" seems only to have deepened it. Highlights? We'd go for the sparkling, Convextion-esque 'Stars' or the sparse, Maurizio-style 'Tangier', but this is an album best experienced in full, from start to finish, all the better to lose yourself in its elegant PCP haze. Roll yourself a generous-sized bifter and tuck into one of the most lovingly and luxuriantly produced dub-techno LPs you'll hear all year....

DeepChord - Hash-Bar Loops  (flac 527mb)

01 Spirits 3:23
02 Stars 4:41
03 Sofitel 7:32
04 Merlot 8:10
05 Tangier 8:28
06 Electromagnetic 8:32
07 Balm 6:04
08 Oude Kerk 6:30
09 City Centre 7:24
10 Crimson 5:36
11 Black Cavendish 7:16
12 Neon And Rain 6:07

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A wonderful set here that houses 8 distinct and epic songs. Beginning with “Spatialdimension”, the remaining 7 tracks are remixes, reconstructions and interpretations of the title track.

The original track (track #1) is a beautiful and lush sounds scape, forever drifting in a sea of echos. Faint twinkles of sonic star light glitter above an ocean of reverb; all the while a subsonic heart beat go’s on and on…The 2nd and 5th tracks are new interpretations by Echospace member Stephen Hitchell (aka, Intrusion). Both of these songs are amazing, but it is the “Intrusion Dub” that has become a true new favorite in my pantheon of favorite songs. This version incorporates all of the sonic elements fans of Stephen’s work have come to respect and enjoy, yet it manages to uplift the listeners spirits in an entirely new manner. Deep, ambient, spatial and golden are words that come to my mind as this track plays on the sound system.

Also note worthy is the final track on the album, “Variant’s Reprised Conduction”. This version is a deep half speed monster that takes its listeners into a cyber jungle of wild beasts, all roaming free in slow motion. The Sub on this version is below low. All in all, this is another amazing release by Echospace and offers every one a chance to experience Spatialdimensional travel.

DeepChord Presents Echospace - Spatialdimension  (flac  435mb)

01 Spatialdimension (Original) 11:24
02 Spatialdimension (cv313 Reduction) 11:43
03 Spatialdimension (Intrusion's Narcotic Intake) 13:18
04 Spatialdimension (cv313's Live Mix) 9:18
05 Spatialdimension (Intrusion Dub) 10:38
06 Spatialdimension (Vibrational Pulsation) 7:24
07 Spatialdimension (Phase90 Reduction) 8:07
08 Spatialdimension (Variant's Reprised Conduction) 6:34

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More goodness from Steve Hitchell, one half of Deepchord's Echospace project, the man behind the excellent Echospace imprint, and noted producer in his own right under the Soultek moniker. "Clouds Overhead" offers deeply melodic material from Hitchell, finding a more sugar-coated equilibrium between the dense constructions of echospace and more open, welcoming melodic structures that hark back to classic electronic music of the mid to late 1990's. Hitchell has a beautifully intuitive grasp of song construction - he makes the kind of instrumental music that tugs at the heartstrings without ever resorting to sappy ingredients, instead delivering weighty dancefloor material that just happens to revolve around beautiful, melodic interiors. lovely stuff.

Soultek - Reflective  (flac  397mb)

01 Groove Control 6:10
02 Spaceman 5:09
03 Live In Detroit 6:29
04 Groovelocked 6:43
05 Soul Twist 6:33
06 Lost Sequence 6:30
07 Back To Detroit 6:26
08 Metro Park 6:54
09 Fallen Frequency 6:14
10 Forgotten Feelings 6:17

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Previously.. see last week


Anonymous said...

hash bar loops link is disfunctional > not found > pls check / reup. thank you.

Rho said...

Well anon it wasn't dysfunctional-it wasn't entered, it happens sometimes anyway problem solved

apf said...

Thank you for DeepChord!

Anonymous said...

Yo Mr Rho, a deepchord re-up would be deeply appreciated, ta muchly

Anonymous said...

Hooj thanks for the re-ups Mr Rho, surely there is no-one that labours more in the service of music & music lovers than you. Thank you

apf said...

Thanks for the re-up of Soultek !

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho,

Appreciate I may be bending the rules a little here with your 12 month rule, I missed the re-ups at the begginning of the year (and I've had a hard drive fall over). With that in mind, please, please, please can you re-up DeepChord Presents Echospace - Spatialdimension ?

Thanks for all you do.