Luke Hess, Dub For Love EP

[Modelisme Records]

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Luke Hess has shown signs of huge promise as a producer for a while now. As a Detroit native, he’s charged with the difficult task of balancing that city’s rich musical history with his own artistic voice, which is influenced by a rare (for a techno producer) focus on the spiritual. Hess’ latest on Modelisme has been kicking around on his Myspace for a tantalizingly long time. From that version, it seemed that “Agape Dub,” when it surfaced, would make good on all the best features of Hess’ releases on labels like FXHE and Berettamusic Grey. The “Dub For Love EP” is a blinding effort, a stunning tour de force that extracts something contemporary and vital from the deep techno of Detroit’s past.

Hess’ “City Light,” slotted in the A2 position, is a tangled and relaxed dub excursion. Brian Kage’s version up on the flip is a little more propulsive in a way that sounds a little bit like the neo-warehouse sound of Modern Love records, but also has some of the stripped down force of Rob Hood and Co. While these are fantastic tracks, “Agape Dub” is the one to write home about. It combines a gaseous atmosphere with a 110% dance floor ready beat. The elements here are sparse, but utterly absorbing, and the bass line is extraordinarily effective. By the time all of this collides with a short quotation from the book of Philippians, which manages to sound natural and un-contrived within the track, there can be no doubting “Agape Dub” is one in a thousand. It goes endlessly deep, and still makes me wriggle in my chair as I write this: no offense to Luke, but it’s a nearly miraculous combination.

Included in the digital release is a remix of “Agape Dub” by James Flavour. That mix misses the tone of the original, unfortunately, and emerges a Beatport-ized tech/house contraption that could be fun on the right dance floor, but which bears little in common with the feel of the other tracks on “Dub For Love.” That being said, Brian Kage has here again confirmed the intuition that Hess has great taste in collaborators, and might therefore be one to watch. (Colin Shields)

hutlock  on March 24, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Forthcoming full-length on Echocord is really, really nice and consistent. Could be a big breakthrough year for Hess.

Will Lynch  on March 24, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Not crazy about the full length… it’s 100% exactly what you would expect it to sound like, or in other words, a little TOO consistent.

I do like this EP a lot though.

wwa  on July 12, 2011 at 2:30 PM

the opening track on the album is brilliant,
i have my issues with dub techno as being too safe most of the time, but meaning matters is a facemelter

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