Sunday, October 25, 2009

rod modell - incense & black light (2007)

rod modell, a producer with a decade-long output, might be more familiar to the dub-techno enthusiasts out there as an integral member of the shadowy deepchord/echospace collective. while his works under that umbrella of aliases are known mostly for long, 10+ minute dub soundscapes, 2007's incense & black light works well as a journey through shorter tracks. the album evokes feelings similar to the deepchord/echospace sound, but the shorter tracks introduce different moods more frequently, including occasional forays into darker territory - check out the ominous swirls of "red light," as well as "temple," which has an unsettling, mechanical murmur that reminds me of pole's productions.

while it's easy to get lost in the middle of the album, which offers little in the way of percussion (it is either very muffled or nonexistent), it is book-ended properly. opener "aloeswood" sounds like a machine slowly, hesitatingly being started, and the closer "morning again" is an aptly titled, blissed-out conclusion.

the album artwork hints at the origins of this work (it was produced in hong kong) and provides a visual reference - static structures surrounded by blurry, hazy motion - for the music's interplay between reduced but insistent rhythm, and atmosphere. this is a great one for late at night (hence the late hour in which i'm discussing this), and because of its shorter track lengths, i recommend it as an accessible introduction to the world of ambient/dub/techno.

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