Deepchord presents Echospace, Liumin

[Modern Love]


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Both Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell have kept themselves very busy since the release of the last Deepchord presents Echospace album on Modern Love, 2007’s The Coldest Season, and the evidence of their individual journeys is writ large all over the grooves of Liumin, the duo’s latest collaborative effort. If The Coldest Season was the soundtrack to a deep-dive into the sub-oceanic space beneath the largest glacier imaginable, Liumin warms things up considerably with much more active and aggressive grooves built on top of field recordings made on the streets of Tokyo (the field recordings themselves are available on a bonus disc, Liumin Reduced, included with the first pressing of the CD). The results are definitely still informed by dub — Modell and Hitchell aren’t making a complete 180 here — but are distinctly updated, conjuring aural images of rolling through the world’s most high-tech city at night, still full of old-world wonder but hypermodern all at once.

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Opener “In Echospace” sets the tone with nary a beat in earshot, as deep, rolling waves of sound splash by in slow motion, peppered with sharp bites of static and disembodied voices cutting through the ether, ghosts of old radio broadcasts pulsing their way to the surface. The track melts away into the bullet train-intro of “Summer Haze” and the beats make their appearance at last. Percolating and lively but just shy of aggressive, this is the classic Echospace sound perfected, with swirling, looped chords and layers of echoing percussion fading in and out of the mix in a hypnotic blend that Modell and Hitchell must be thinking about copyrighting by now. Aside from the organic feel of the field recordings, that percussive base is the other way in which Liumin sets itself apart from its predecessor: where The Coldest Season was content to move in giant, monolithic swathes of rhythm, Liumin is active, even danceable.

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“Sub-Marine” thumps along at a pretty good clip with some insistent rattles and funky low-end notes thrown in to move some asses, while “Maglev”‘s bass bubbles and snapping hi-hats are deep house played through a busted-ass speaker cone to surprisingly great effect. “BCN Dub” on the other hand, shambles along like an outtake from Hitchell’s stellar Intrusion project, wearing it’s Jamaican influence proudly as a spectral horn melody drifts through on a distant transistor box that just gets dirtier and dirtier as it repeats. Lesser artists may have reduced dub techno to its base elements and produced cookie-cutter tracks that ape the style set forth by Echospace and their sonic predecessors, but with Liumin, Modell and Hitchell prove that they are no one-trick ponies, evolving musically just as surely as they have maintained their distinctive sound. If you think you’ve heard everything that the dub techno genre could possibly throw at you, Liumin will prove you ain’t heard nothing yet.

Blaktony  on July 5, 2010 at 7:38 AM

True 2 tha name (echocord); i do enjoy a good dub done well….off 2 recordtime i go.

Chris Miller  on July 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I’ve gotta say that I love this album. I was initially pretty wary, seeing as I went off dub techno due to it being rather boring lately, but this is quality stuff. “Burnt Sage” is really beautiful. Shades of Monolake’s “Hongkong” all over this, but in a good way.

It sags just a bit in the second half, and I wish the whole thing were maybe five minutes shorter. Second disc is a great listen as well.

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» Deepchord presents Echospace, Liumin best house music  on July 2, 2010 at 1:21 AM

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