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Deepchord presents Echospace - Liumin


Modern Love

If Von Oswald and Ernestus were the originators, then it’s fair to say that Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell have made a decent living from copying them. This may sound harsh, but ultimately with the finite soundworld of dub techno, it is difficult to get away from the fact that outside of the Hardwax camp, very few of the musicians trailing in their wake have managed to come up with something that has advanced matters into new, unforseen territory. What can be done that wasn’t with “Octahedre” or “Radiance”? I have to admit that the thought of reviewing this album after witnessing their rather dismal and horribly deflating club-orientated live show a couple of years back set me on edge.

To their credit though, both Modell and Hitchell have worked hard to steer the Echospace project into more cinematic territories and keep to the solid aesthetic of vintage analogue equipment. Their “Cold Season” series in 2007 saw the duo migrate south towards positively arctic territory, but here, it’s safe to say that they are basking in warmer climes. “Liumin” is a textured and positive piece of music, strong on a particularly strident form of solar ambience.  It’s helped by a driving beat throughout much of it. Recorded live in some parts with field recordings weaving in throughout, there’s a sense of the duo freeing themselves to a certain extent of the dubby anchor that has been a mainstay. Whilst it remains a central part of their sound, there’s more attention to melody and experimentation with less wallowing in the listlessness of the echo chamber.

It’s not all plain sailing though, and at 80 minutes “Liumin” is half an hour too long. Not until the sparky skank of “BCN Dub” does the album get going and by then it’s nearly halfway through. “Summer Haze” is the sound of Echospace on autopilot, which to be fair can be enormously dull at times and “Sub_Marine” contains a few pleasing melodic motifs yet little else. By “Firefly” the duo are entering the hypnotic realms of house music. They save the best tracks for the end, “Maglev” carrying a subliminal malevolence with its churning tempo and “Float” oscillating off into the summer haze, carried along by its kinetic energy.

I’m still not convinced that there’s much left of this genre to explore, but Modell and Hitchell apply their abilities with the skill of artisans throughout “Liumin” and resuscitate to a certain extent the belief that digidub does have a future. A little more brevity would help too.

Toby Frith


Reader Comments (4)

This is the most accurate review of this album I've read. And, strangely enough, it is tremendously relevant to the rest of the genre, also.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVertiphon

Interesting perspective on one of my favorite albums of 2010, it was something I didn't expect these guys to do. I have to say though this album has about 5% to do with with Basic Channel and about 95% to do with Rod Modell and his early 90's experimental ambient music. If you did some research you would find out this guy has been going as long as Basic Channel have but on a totally different wavelength which comes across more than ever with this new album. I haven't read a real positive review of these guys on this site and don't expect to, it's pretty clear Toby has run out of stream for this music, why not pass the reviewing torch to someone who still has some heart for it? I think it's brilliant a real highlight this year, it's a real shame that isn't conveyed here it's an excellent album.

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDreamer

This is a great album, I try not to listen to all the negative displacement from such sites as this but to evaluate on its own merits. If you take the time to absorb this album I think you will honestly be better for it, it's quite original despite what is said here. I've tried to not let this reviewers opinion skew my interest in this genre as he often has nothing positive to say for it especially concerning echospace and projects. I personally find echospace to be one of the most interesting artist and labels in the genre today and this album is a clear example why.

August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoerg

I think the comments are a bit harsh here as I have quite a lot of time for this album. It is 30 minutes too long, but there's a lot to enjoy and I've been a fan of Rod Modell's earlier material and Hitchell's remixing of bvdub was a highlight of 2009. Sure, I may be damning of the genre in general, but that's because there's not a lot going on.

August 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterBleep43

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