Claro Intelecto: Warehouse Sessions Volume 4
Deepchord presents: Echospace: The Coldest Season Volume 1
Deepchord presents: Echospace: The Coldest Season Volume 2
Deepchord presents: Echospace: The Coldest Season Volume 3
Andy Stott: The Massacre EP
Claro Intelecto (Mark Stewart) graces us with two deep, dark, and dubbed-out techno cuts in volume four of his Warehouse Sessions series. It's hard not to hear shades of Chicago and Detroit in Stewart's smoothly-crafted, wide-screen techno. Like the calm before the storm, “Instinct” lumbers like a colossus before its spacious skank settles into position. The tune's minimal theme sparkles and monstrous bass rumbles before a crisp percussive lope appears to keep the ship sailing upright for the duration. The B-side's jaunty “Post” struts through its gleaming night-time metropolis, warming its groove with glimmering chords and a jazzy piano spotlight.
On The Coldest Season's three volumes, Detroit's Rod Modell (aka Deepchord) and Chicagoan Steve Hitchell (aka Soultek) combine for massive cuts that draw from Chicago and Detroit traditions and, most of all, Berlin by way of Basic Channel and Chain Reaction. Modell and Hitchell produced the material using vintage analog equipment (Roland Space Echo, Echoplex, Korg tape delay, vintage signal processors, noise generators, Sequential Circuits 8 bit samplers, and analog synthesizers). On volume one, a billowing mass of hiss and static blankets the ultra-deep “First Point of Aries” before a dub bass pierces the haze and clears a path for the chugging techno pulse that follows. The slightly more propulsive “Celestialis” is equally beautiful, an echo-drenched amalgam of metallic washes, ghostly chords, and driving pulses.
It's no surprise that volume two's equally sublime. In “Abraxas,” immense washes of haze roll in, followed by an epic bottom end that's so huge and multi-dimensional one could drown in it. The B-side's “Empyrean” is fabulous too, a lurching monolith of echoing chords and surging organ streams powered by a throbbing rumble and a subtly funky sway. The third installment is as deep and glorious as the other two, and whets one's appetite all the more for the CD that will soon compile all of them (plus a fourth) into a single release. “Elysian” descends into view like a slow-moving gaseous cloud, then springs powerfully to life with an erect 4/4 pulse and nimble bass attack, neither of which is so prominent it obscures the tune's dubby cascades of metallic haze and clatter. Smothered in washes, serpentine lashes and steely chords awaken “Sunset” with deep shimmer before a four-note bass riff slaps the tune to attention and sends it on its way; best of all is the more aggressive jolt that kicks in after a mid-song breakdown. Basic Channel-Chain Reaction devotees bemoaning the dearth of new product from the Berlin outpost need look no further than Modern Love as a more-than-credible substitute, as The Coldest Season's twelves are all sublime riffs on the BC-CR template.
Andy Stott's The Massacre EP is deep too, though leans slightly more in a dance-techno direction. The bass remains gargantuan—deliciously so—and the vibe alluring on Modern Love's thirty-fifth release. The A side's “Unknown Exception” presents sultry dub-techno that lurches through a night-time cityscape, momentarily stumbles and stops, then picks itself up and shakes itself awake for a lively 4/4 jaunt home. The flip's “Massacre” is equally grand, a rumbling slab of minimal techno replete with a classic dub bass line, propulsive hi-hats, and steely keyboard stabs. Fantastic releases all around.