Good to great
I remember when I first ran across Mathias Kaden. Must have been in 2003 at the really recommendable SonneMondSterne festival in Germany, and he was DJing with tons of energy, almost hyperactively working the effects, getting a lot more out of the mixer than DJs used to in those days, cooking up a mix that had just as much passion as he was demonstrating at the decks. It was in one of the smaller tents and I had to ask who it was. Sure left an impression on me.
18 years later I am listening to this remix EP and the album it is based on, and it’s fascinating to see how Kaden has transformed from his somewhat nervous and functional spin on Tech House to the warm, relaxed and sophisticated Dub Techno he presented as Mathimidori on “Akebono”. Needless to say that I am much more fond of this long player than I was of most of his previous work.
In this part of the music world it’s a relatively long way from Vakant to Echocord, and in my world it equals going from good to great. The Akebono Remix EP is further proof of this transformation – if only because guys like Rod Modell don’t agree to do remixes for just anyone, and he even went for two.
Which does bring me to the only slightly sad part about this EP – Rod Modell’s second remix is not included on the vinyl version – and the only way to get this remix is to either buy the vinyl on Bandcamp with the full download included or to buy the single digital track if you bought the vinyl somewhere else (like me). I would rather see vinyl buyers incentivized than the folks who shop for files.
“Ork” is sort of an obvious pick to remix for Modell, deeply dubby in its original version with plenty of elements that almost beg for such a treatment. The “Version” remix is absolutely classic material, adding echoing voices and plenty of space and texture, doing the expectedly brilliant work on the original’s elegant chords, and reducing the rhythmical elements of Dub to give it a straight Dub Techno drive. It feels so Deepchord that you are surprised to see how much of the original track is included in this remix. For those who consider adding the digital only “Rod Modell Dub”: do so, it is an even more hypnotic trip that does the magic trick of bordering the beatless while emphasizing the Dub feel rhythmically.
Naturally, Modell is sort of the star among the crowd of remixers – but the rest of the crew is equally select. Freund der Familie, the German duo that runs the excellent label of the same name, are on board with their “Soso (FDF Reshape)” – a deeply dubby mix that only lets the hi-hats run at (more or less) original speed while all other elements are relaxing at half speed Dub tempo. It’s easy to envision clouds of sweet smoke wafting through the room. Lovely stuff.
A really nice surprise is the addition of Quantec to the list of remixers. Sven Schienhammer hasn’t been all too busy during the last years. Every now and then I was checking for new work and came up empty handed. Sadly so, judging from “Akari (Quantec Remix)”, a classic Dub Techno treatment that is intriguingly oldschool with a slight nineties feel. Let’s hope Echocord puts out another Quantec 12″ soon.
Completing the group of remixers is Scott Monteith a.k.a. Deadbeat from Montreal with a remix of “Maiia”, a tricky treatment that lets a whole bunch of percussion, stabs and other little sound artifacts bounce around a tight but generous echo space, all loosely connected to the deep and minimal kick that keeps things together and lets the track ride on and on – this could have easily gone on much longer than the six minutes and seven seconds he gives us.
A few weeks ago I praised Echocord for their superb El Choop EP – and I need to do it again. This is pretty much as good as it gets in the Dub Techno world. I would clearly recommend a second set of remixes of this really classy album.
Release for review:
MATHIMIDORI – AKEBONO REMIX EP – ECHOCORD – ECHOCORD 088
Buy this release or the digital version on Bandcamp: Click
If the vinyl is sold out, get it on Discogs: Click