Model 500, Starlight

[echospace [detroit]]

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It made perfect sense for echospace [detroit] to issue new remixes of Model 500’s immortal “Starlight” back in the summer of 2007. After all, Juan Atkins’ and Mortiz von Oswald’s 1995 original is a clear touchstone for the echospace sound, fusing the dubbed-out analog washes of Berlin’s Basic Channel camp with the rhythmic knowhow and deep, deep soul of Detroit to achieve cosmic nirvana. The only problem was, of course, finding (and affording) a copy of the limited edition, uber-collectible, colored-vinyl double pack. Never let it be said that the good people at echospace don’t have a heart, then, as this welcome CD compilation gathers most of that double’s contents (only the echospace mix here is different, presented in an unreleased mix) along with four new mixes.

The mixes themselves pay homage to the spacewalk feel of the original without aping it outright, and the interpretations are stronger for it. Deepchord’s version bobs along to a sub-oceanic bass bounce while those famous floating chords try their best to cut through the analog haze, while Soultek’s version plays up the rhythms with a slithering electro-creep and a gently melodic new theme. Echospace’s Unreleased Mix brings the boogie with a nifty bass groove and a propulsive rhythm track pinning the chords to the black sky, while Sean Deason’s PSYKOFUK mix is the hardest hitting, utilizing sounds and percussion that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a vintage Plus 8 side. Convextion’s mix is, conversely, the hardest to figure and the least recognizable, a dark, loping gallop that stands in contrast to the deepness of the rest of the collection. Solid work, but it’s more effective standing alone on its own side in the double pack.

Perhaps the three best versions, however, are three of the new mixes. Mike Huckaby turns in a deep house monster, weaving the chords tightly into a hypnotic dream bed before unleashing a pummeling bass attack and a drop-out that steals the breath from the room. Two of Steve Hitchell’s aliases turn in inspired work as well, as the Phase90 Reshape turns the tape inside-out and holds it deep down in ice-cold water, chattering teeth providing the rhythmic drive; the Intrusion Dub flows effortlessly into deep, hissing, and spacious ambient bliss. Those really feeling it should seek out the 18 minute take on a companion 12-inch (alongside Huckaby’s floor-ready stormer), nearly 10 minutes longer than the version here.

The mixes are gently rolled into each other to create a seamless mix, but more than that, it’s those magical, shimmering chords that tie the work together, becoming the common link between the 10 versions. Whether they are played straight through, album-style, or plucked out one by one, each mix brings something new out of a deceptively simple original, paying worthy homage to the twin legacies of Metroplex and Basic Channel.

james kartsaklis  on September 2, 2008 at 8:56 PM

very cool review, todd. looking forward to getting my hands on this collection. i’m still kicking myself for not picking up the 2×12″ package when i had the chance. i think i played those records front to back every visit i made to gramaphone over the course of a month or so, and then they were gone.

isbjorn  on September 3, 2008 at 1:45 AM

Sublime, just sublime.


hutlock  on September 3, 2008 at 6:45 AM

James: my comment in the review about finding (and affording) the double pack was aimed right at you, buddy! :-)

b0b  on September 6, 2008 at 12:33 AM

at 2$ or so for the full release, I really doubt the mp3 site you’re linking to is legit, as nice as it looks. Probably located in russia with label and artist getting nothing…

littlewhiteearbuds  on September 6, 2008 at 7:59 AM

Good call. I’ve changed the link.

Jason Rule  on September 6, 2008 at 6:08 PM

Love these remixes. Still, nothing compares with the original.

harpomarx42  on April 1, 2009 at 10:18 PM

I was listening to the ‘Echospace Dub’ and I actually cried. No joke. It’s that good.


Little White Earbuds » Little White Earbuds September Charts  on October 2, 2008 at 9:17 PM

[…] (buy) 09. Kuniyuki, “Dear African Sky” (Henrik Schwarz remix) [Mule Musiq] (buy) 10. Model 500, “Starlight” (Echospace Unreleased remix) [echospace [detroit]] […]

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