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If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the fellows in Berlin's Rhythm & Sound camp will have no problem endorsing Detroit-based Deepchord as their dub-techno heir apparent. Already an established ambient producer, Rod Modell partnered with Mike Schommer, quietly releasing their first 12" together in the late '90s. Like Rhythm & Sound, Deepchord based their compositions around minimal arrangements: repetitive rhythms inspired by dub, faint traces of white noise, and warm synth stabs. The group retained a loyal cult following, releasing several more singles in the early 2000s as well as a limited-run CD version of their first six releases (originally pressed up in extremely limited quantities). The duo's production went from prolific to a screeching halt around 2002, making a remarkable and rare live performance at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival and releasing singles in a scarce fashion (the group's 2006 single was only pressed in 100 copies). A retrospective of the group's work, Vibrasound, was issued under Modell's name and released on the Silentes label in 2005. Later that year, Modell teamed with Kevin Hanton to release Illuminati Audio Science and used a generous portion of the group's output, looped and sliced into small segments (much like Richie Hawtin's DE9 experiments), for a continuous 70-minute mix CD. In 2007, Modell teamed with Stephen Hitchell, aka Soultek, for what would go on to be one of his most commercially successful projects, Echospace (also the name of a new label he started at the same time). Its debut album, The Coldest Season, was released on cult British label Modern Love and featured one of the most deconstructed interpretations of the Basic Channel sound ever released, its dubby, decayed textures swathed in shrouds of tape hiss. The 2010 follow-up Liumin (a Chinese personal name) was a greater success still, even as it played up this "destroyed" sound yet more, turning hundreds of hours of field recordings made in China into an unrecognizable murk. In 2011, Modell, now piloting Deepchord solo, signed to legendary Glasgow label Soma, which issued what was actually the first ever "proper" Deepchord album, Hash-Bar Loops. A period of intense creativity followed and 2012 saw the release both of another Echospace album, Silent World -- the soundtrack to an experimental film produced by Modell himself -- and the Deepchord follow-up Sommer. In 2013, Soma released Deepchord's full-length 20 Electrostatic Soundfields, and Modell's Echospace [Detroit] label launched a series of archival compilations collecting tracks from Deepchord's early-2000s 12" releases. The following year, Subwax released an album of Deepchord's "redesigns" of Yagya's 2006 full-length Will I Dream During the Process?, and British label Astral Industries released Deepchord's limited double-LP Lanterns. Deepchord continued releasing 12" EPs on Soma, however, and the label issued one of Modell's grandest statements yet, the lengthy double CD Ultraviolet Music, in 2015. Following 2017's Live in Detroit [Ghost in the Sound], a recording of a Deepchord set at an official afterparty for Detroit's annual Movement festival, the project returned to Soma with the full-length Auratones.
© Rob Theakston & John D. Buchanan /TiVo
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