Review: Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the De:tuned label digs deep into the world of 90s ambient to mark the occasion with three sublime cuts. "Every Now And Then", courtesy of Thomas Fehlmann's Sun Electric project, is a wispy, ethereal affair, while on "Shift", the brilliant - and often overlooked - Higher Intelligence Agency deliver a glorious slice of acid-soaked electro. It's the kind of track that inspired the current penchant for the glitchy end of electronic music. However, the real highlight here is Deepchord's "Garden". Led by breathy, textured synths and a gentle, rolling groove, it's the definition of deep music for the head and feet.
Review: Hot on the heels of their first collaborative EP for Vibrant Music - the fine Accumulate Parts I & II - dub techno stalwarts DeepChord (Aka Rod Modell) and Fluxion (Konstantinos Soublis) join forces for a second salvo. The two-part "Bona Fide" is a typically evocative and hazy affair, offering an attractive balance between Modell's audio soup style sound design and the gently unfurling rhythms that have always been a hallmark of Soublis's productions. Both interpretations utilize a range of melodic elements - think twinkling, mixed-down pianos, fuzzy electric piano bass, dreamy chords, and so on - with the slightly livelier "Part 2" also making use of some exotic percussive flourishes. Naturally, both passes are warm, undulating and immaculately produced.
Review: Long-serving producer Fluxion has decided to re-launch his Vibrant Music imprint, a label specializing in dub techno and ambient explorations that previously ceased operations in 2005. Fittingly, he's saved something special for the relaunch EP: a collaboration with Detroit dub techno don Rod "Deepchord" Modell as Transformations. The two-part "Accumulate" draws on the best of both producers' styles, delivering melodious, warm, hypnotic and spacey techno whose dub influences bubble away in the background without ever taking over. Rodell's ability to subtly tweak and transform dubbed-out melodic loops and hazy sonic textures is explored in greater detail on "Part 2" version, which also boasts a heavier bassline and sturdier, kick-drum-driven percussion.
Review: Rod Modell is about to release his fifth album for Soma, and as a taster, delivers Northern Shores. Like the empty beach and distant sea on the cover, opening track "Cirriforms" is an evocative piece of electronic mood music whose breathy chords ebb and flow before crashing in on the gentle, stepping groove. "Sky Maps" is more dance floor focused, with a rolling, supple groove supporting Modell's melodic twists. Listen closely and you can hear the sound of sea birds chirping over the dub shanty. "Crystal Horizons" sees him reverting to the light, breezy sound of "Cirriforms", while closing track "Sand and Shore" reinforces the US producer's reputation as a purveyor of esoteric electronic music, delivered in a windswept, ethereal style.
Review: Prolific dub techno producer Rod Modell has spent much of the last year collaborating with long-term studio buddy Stephen Hitchell under the Echospace alias. Even so, he's still somehow found time to ready another solo album for regular home Soma (his fifth in total for the esteemed Glasgow-based techno label). While the CD version is presented as one continuous audio journey, this digital edition contains each track in its entirety. There are few surprises, but plenty of highlights: after all, nobody does this kind of hypnotic, meditative, ambient-influenced dub techno quite as well as Modell.
Review: The inimitable Deepchord is back on Soma and drops the first single from his forthcoming album, Auratones due in October. Rod Modell is undoubtedly an underrated figure in the Detorit techno scene, but highly regarded amongst the underground as one of the modern greats of dub techno. You'll surrender to the void immediately upon hearing "Perfumes Of A Spring Mist" its dense and glacial qualities will immerse you with an otherworldly style of production: as per usual of Modell. "Xpan" is classic Deepchord: those ultra hypnotic, pitch perfect dub chords supported by the most exquisitely textural elements that collide wonderfully on this underwater epic. Finally the EP comes full circle with the 12 minute long ambient epic that is the title track. Indeed one can imagine sitting by the fire upon a lake somewhere in Northern Michigan: staring up into the stars. Mind blowingly good, as per usual!
Review: Most box-set releases tend to focus on reissues and re-releases, but on Brainbox De:tuned opts for a different approach. The compilation features artists who defined European techno and electronica's golden age during the 90s, but the Belgian label has commissioned new or unreleased material from these acts. Fans of that era will be thrilled by B12's moody electro, the raw, analogue warmth of John Beltran's "Nineteen Eighty Nine" and the resonating bass-y techno of In:Sync's "Crack in the World". While not every track impresses - Move D's contribution sounds tepid - there are enough jaw-dropping piece of music on this compilation, witness the autumnal majesty of as One's "Where Did He Go & Why" to make Brainbox an essential release.
Review: Few producers do the dub techno sound better than Rod Modell and on this second Atmospherica instalment, he shows why he is so revered. "Exploring The North" is dense and subdued, the hisses and crackles ebbing and flowing fluidly over a powerful sub-bass. "Pinewood Lodge" is more atmospheric and floaty, its chords flitting about like fireflies over a camp fire on the first night of autumn. Rounding out the release is "Shot Point". Immersive, hypnotic and ghostly, it washes through the speakers like waves crashing on a deserted beach at midnight. This is electronic music that is designed to get lost in.
Review: Rod Modell aka Deepchord was never known for his brevity, and Untraviolet, his latest album, proves true to form. Spanning two CDs and clocking in at nearly two and a half hours, it sees the US producer take the listener on a trip through his world of dub. Despite seeming very specific and defined, in reality it's a varied place; on one hand there are the scuffled, almost lo-fi Chain Reaction-influenced grooves of "Gulf Breeze" and "Red Sky", while "Radio Netherlands" is a more bubbly, effective techno track. Modell hasn't forgotten his largely sofa-based audience however, and the wall of hissing sound that comprises "Visible Audio" and the jazzier "Night Transmission" are classic Deepchord.
Review: Taken in part from his recent album on Soma, Atmospherica is sure to appeal to fans of Rod Modell's deep, textured music. "Fargo" sets the tone for the release, with gentle chords washing over a dubbed out groove that sways and sashays like moonlight on a windy night. By contrast, "Cmos Therapy" is faster and darker, as the groove alternates between stepping and rolling but this hyperactivity is joined by a common, heavy underlying feeling. Rounding out the release is "Night Song". While it is also of an atmospheric persuasion, it has a balmy, tropical feeling, which begs the question - after all these years, could this be Rod Modell's own version of deep house?
Review: Even by dub techno standards, Rob Modell seems to be unfeasibly productive. There's been a veritable deluge of Deepchord-related releases this year - all up to the Detroit-based producer's impeccable standards, of course - with the first Luxury release on Soma arguably standing out. This follow-up is predictably strong, with Modell expertly crafting two starry, melodic and admirably hypnotic compositions. Choose between the twinkling melodies, rolling chords and starlight grooves of "Luxury 3" and the bolder, more sci-fi tinged "Luxury 4", whose undulating percussion, fluid chords and dub-style live mixing guarantee eyes-wide-shut thrills.
Review: One of the best compliments you can pay a minimal techno producer is that they have an ability to make a lot with few elements. While Deepchord's layered, textured sound could be described as maximal techno, on this release for Soma, its simplicity is its strength. In reality, not much happens over the course of the ten-minute plus "Luxury 1", yet its dubby beats, sub-aquatic chords and occasional diversions into dreamy reveries is over before the listener realises it. "Luxury 2" is more dance floor-friendly, but despite this, the break beats are gentle and unassuming and the melodies subtle yet insidious. It makes for a straightforward but seductive combination.
Review: Rod Modell is synonymous with introspective techno transmissions and on Soundfields, he slips seductively into abstract composition. Most of the tracks here are only a few minutes long, but it is to Modell's credit that he makes each dreamy sequence segue seamlessly into the next one. Framed against a glitchy, static backdrop, Modell teases out jazzy signatures on "Lavender"; the sound of a forest full of animals waking at dawn on "Whispering Pines" and swirling dub techno on "Aerosphere". Soundfields flows unhurriedly and fluently from start to finish, but it reaches a suitable crescendo on the woozy textures of "Barcelona".
Vibrational Studies (In Echospace) - (6:54) 159 BPM
Symbolism In Transition - (6:52) 123 BPM
Review: On Vibrational Studies, Deepchord show that what you leave out is important as what stays in. An understated ambient piece of music, it benefits from not being swathed in layers of doomy Gothic references, as is the habit of so many abstract/ambient producers. Instead, Deepchord sketch out a gentle but nonetheless evocative soundscape that crackles and hisses in all the right places. That said, a more effective use of this approach is audible on "Symbolism In Transition". More of the same hissing, evolving textures are present, but this time, a gentle, dubby rhythm underpins their design - and will probably end up getting more attention.