Let’s just set things straight right now; Rod Modell and Steve Hitchell are pretty much unstoppable right now. All the work that I’ve heard from the duo, whether it be working together, or on their own (see Hitchell’s The Seduction Of Silence as Intrusion for one example) is completely solid and often transcendent.
The last album that the group did together as Echospace (2007’s The Coldest Season) was a near modern-classic of ambient/minimal techno, as it stretched out epic clouds of sound and left you suspended in a cloud of frozen crystalline particles.
If that release was the sound of winter, though, then Liumin conquers the opposite season, with sun-scorched minimal techno/dub cuts that melt the horizon line and blur together field recordings, droning swaths of sound, and murmuring, incessant rhythms that propel the 9 track, 78 minute release forward. With each cut flowing directly into the next, it’s a fully enveloping album that again begs for headphone listening.
They actually start things off with a drifting haze of field recordings and gurgling synths, but the aptly-titled “Summer Haze” really gets things going in earnest as a loping beat and some beautiful, shimmering washes elevate the track to dizzying heights.
“Summer Haze” – Deepchord Presents Echospace
From there, the duo do their usual bag of tricks, varying styles slightly without ever losing the deep, enriching environment that they introduced right from the start. “Burnt Sage” takes things down a notch and lets the field recordings and various tonal drifts almost completely overwhelm the background kick drum, while “BCN Dub” and “Maglev” rev things up to a rumbling, near Basic Channel level that sound just as good cranked out of a car stereo with the windows down as they do sitting on a couch with headphones on while escaping the heat indexes outside.
Arriving somewhere between the two is the more defined “Firefly,” another number that resides in a world somewhere between the couch and the club floor. Sure, there’s nothing that the duo hasn’t done before, but the rich polyrhythms dancing through gauzy textures nonetheless shows some subtle variations and production muscle-flexing that I simply haven’t heard anyone else pull off so gracefully.
“Firefly” – Deepchord Presents Echospace
The release comes with a bonus disc of re-imagined field recordings that don’t exactly flesh out the music on the first disc, but definitely add to the atmosphere of the whole thing. It’s another one knocked out of the park from the duo, and a release that will stand up just as well when the mercury starts heading the opposite direction.