the way

Been gone awhile! A solid week of partying with some of my best friends in a beautiful town in Ohio set me back a bit, but now I am back in San Francisco and ready to keep giving the goods.

There's been a lot of debate going on recently about the current state of the genre known as dub-techno, a sound pioneered by Basic Channel and the artists of Chain Reaction, now being taken up by such followers as the boys over at Echocord and Modern Love. Many have grown to think of the genre as "samey," consisting mostly of atmospheric ambient hiss, booming-yet-buried kicks, synth swells here and there, and climaxes much too minute for any sort of dance floor. In other words, the genre's detractors have found that the powerful music of Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald has plateaued into a genre that is completely uninteresting and stuck in the musical signs of being dub-techno, rather than expanding the genre's sonic and dancefloor capabilities. While I agree with this negative assessment in some ways-- much too much same-old shit has come out in the past few years-- I still believe that there are some great artists doing things with the genre, and the best of them is undoubtedly Luke Hess.

Hess' new album Light in the Dark is exemplary of a dub-techno album that doesn't simply rely on formula. Rather, there is a great amount of variation, with tracks ranging from the dark, lush ambient of "Reflections" to the Omar-S-like techno syncopations of "The Way." While there is certainly a mood contained within the album, and is isn't necessarily a sunshiney one, the album as a whole is a breath of fresh air, with enough swelling, delayed synths to keep the dub-techno purists happy and enough pounding grooves to keep the Detroit tech-heads happy. Releasing one of the great albums of 2009, Hess is most definitely among the more interesting and precision-oriented producers out there. Check out his summer podcast from last year on MNML SSGS, too-- it is quite nice.

Luke Hess- The Way

More coming at you later tonight!

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