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rod modell (deepchord) - Incense & Black Light
Deepchord's Rod Modell is a fascinating character, operating outside of any regular techno circles and in possession of a rich and genuinely beautiful back catalogue that has kept him away from the more predictable manoeuvres so many of his contemporaries have fallen into. His love of suggestive sound sources and analogue processes is clearly not born out of any "fashionable" urges, but a true and rich fascination with the sonic detritus that litters our world and the space above us, as far removed from the pristine machinations of Minimal techno as can be imagined. Modell has had a busy and highly productive 12 months and is now more visible than at any point over his decade long career, finding acclaim and appreciation via his involvement in releases for Echospace, Modern Love, Echocord, SYNTH and Silentes, but it is with this remarkable album for Plop that he appears to have sunk in to his most immersive and reductive frame of mind, producing a staggering series of frayed dub variations for contemplative and at times propulsive ingestion. The album opens with the incredible "Aloeswood", a stretch of rusting chords and found sounds filtered into oblivion, creating a kind of aural tension that builds and radiates a narcotic hum of distorion and space that sets the framework for much of the album's uneasy bliss. By the time "Cloud Over" kicks into life Modell is back in the presence of more traditional percussive arrangements and neon lights, but there's something impossibly fragile and uneven about the production here, like the mastertapes have been left out to slowly decompose and take on the elements, leaving almost audible battle scars that arrange themselves like rings betraying the age and struggles of a freshly cut tree. "Ultraviolet World" is another breathtaking layering of field recordings and machine made processes, with dense and impossibly woozy side effects slowly reconfiguring your perception through repetition and barely noticeable change, the mark of a confident and purposeful artist at the peak of his powers. If you're a follower of Modell's transmissions under his own and deepchord/echospace monikers you'll have an idea of what to expect from this wonderful album, but the development of sound and ease with which Modell treads on more obtuse terrain should also draw you in if you're one of the many people out there still in awe of the works of Thomas Köner and Wolfgang Voigt's peerless Gas project. Stunning music - an utterly essential purchase.