Luke Hess, Light In The Dark

universum

[Echocord]


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Luke Hess is apparently determined to escape any and all pigeonholing that may come with his being a techno producer from the fabled city of Detroit. By infusing his streamlined Detroit techno with various elements of dub, field recordings, and, ahem, Jesus, Hess shows it’s possible to emerge and flourish from under the mighty shadow (and baggage) of the Motor City.

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Light In The Dark, Hess’ debut full-length and first outing for Echocord proper (with previous releases for the label’s offshoot, Echocord Colour) achieves a certain symmetry and cohesiveness, effortlessly flowing from one track to the next with nary a bump in the road. While in lesser hands, this might result in a rather static listen, Hess manages to keep things varied enough to alleviate boredom. When the beat gradually falls out of time on “Self-Control,” for example, it isn’t an overwhelming change, merely something subtle and unexpected. The smoky atmospheres of “Reel Life” give way to a stealth rhythm and finally some deep analog chords, but it all sounds a bit like some serpent swimming around the dark misty waters on the album’s cover, just poking its head up often enough to remind you it’s there. Every track resembles the track before it and the track after it, but each one has that little something to differentiate it from the pack, mutating ever so slightly from the set template.

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There’s nary a tune or really even a melody in sight, just lots of “feel” — rhythm, noise, and nature, acting together in some sort of harmony, united by the echoic dub effects that Hess hangs throughout. The missing earworms allow the sound to simply cascade over the ear, as tracks tumble and roll into each other. But it’s the little details that keep things interesting: a surprising extra-dubbed-up effect here, an atmospheric nature sound whistling low in the background there, and just enough rhythmic invention to keep listeners guessing.

colin s  on June 25, 2009 at 1:29 PM

This is great stuff!

barry  on June 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

have to say i was a little dissapointed with this album , while there are 2 or 3 standout tracks that i do play i think the rest are simply pleseant enough without being truly engaging . I think the album is a step down in quality for hess and echochord who both usually impress . I will , however , keep my eye out for future hess records as i know he is capable of better

Nitzan  on July 28, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Great tunes, sweet design edge too.

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