Rod Modell is just one of the many Detroiters developing (read: ripping off) the late 90’s sound of Basic Channel. I guess since the Basic Channel guys felt the need to stay in stagnation with their sound, someone had to develop it further.
The double-sided “HR-01” on Hierophant Records (get it, HR-01?!), is one of the most sonically interesting releases by Rod Modell / DeepChord. Gone are the basic, unprocessed drums from earlier releases like “DC01-06”, replaced with heavily subdued, swirling rhythms. Even his Cm PWM synth stabs have been pushed into the background and mangled with liberal use of a slow fizzing phaser. “HR-01″ isn’t so much music as it is a sonic wall of bubbling, pulsing hardware chewiness that, even although is based almost entirely on the early BC sound, still has that indefinable DeepChord sonic signature. It doesn’t bridge, it doesn’t break, there are no crescendos or solos – it is just content to mearly exist, and lose the listener in its mirky complex sound for 7 minutes.
The cute 10” white disc only has two tracks, neither of which have been given a title, art work or printed sleeves. Adding to the perceived laziness of this release, the B-Side can best be described best as a slowed down version of the A-Side. Now, I’m not one to criticize an artist, but a real b-side would have been nice. Dubby, Detroit techno is a very rigid genre, which can be reduced down to “how much delay feedback can I place on my Cm chords”, so maybe the B-Side is a tongue in cheek snipe at this… Or at least, I’d like to believe it was.
HR-01 is a good record to have in you collection, as it exists right on the peak of Modell’s production hight before he drifted off into boring remixes and utterly uninspired EPs and albums. Now Rod Modell seem to have become a man trapped within his own sound – unable to express anything new or fresh. I’d love to hear something produced by Rod that forced him to leave this sound behind, but until that happens “HR-01” is probably his best work. Then again, there’s always the expensive and elusive “DeepChord vs. Octal Industries – Arrival / Departure“, but we’ll talk about that once I’ve managed to source a copy (a physical copy that is, not these 192Kbps Scene MP3s that seem to be floating around).