Intrusion: The Seduction of Silence
Echospace [Detroit]

The Seduction Of Silence is another fabulous collection of oceanic dub-techno from the Echospace [Detroit] camp, this one from Steven Hitchell under the Intrusion name. It's an even more personalized recording than usual as it's dedicated to his father who passed away in March 2008 and, in addition, includes a song Hitchell composed (and that features lyrics by vocalist Paul St. Hilaire) around the time that his son was born (“Little Angel”). A couple of things about The Seduction Of Silence stand out right away, trajectory for one. Hitchell obviously considered the track sequencing carefully, with the music proceeding from a languorous beginning (“Montego Bay”) to a progressively more animated attack that reaches its peak in “Intrusion Dub” and then slowly descends until it reaches the becalmed drift of “Twilight.” Another thing that's unusual is that the “version” rendering of “Angel Version” appears up front while the more conventional treatment (“Little Angel”) comes near the end. It turns out to be an inspired move as the lovely vocal lullaby gives the eighty-minute disc a novel twist as it enters its final laps.

As mentioned, “Montego Bay” eases the listener into the album with a laid-back flow of aqueous chords and deep atmosphere. During its relaxed eight minutes, echoing percussive accents and clangorous chords cascade through the humid air before “Angel Version” picks up the pace with a softly pumping groove and wisps of Paul St. Hilaire's voice and melting chords swimming through the mix. The two opening tracks set the stage for the appearance of two colossi, “Tswana Dub” and “Intrusion Dub,” both of which stretch beyond the ten-minute mark. The bass now assumes a more prominent place in the mix, with it giving the material more heft and animation. Staccato chords punctuate the wind-blown “Tswana Dub” as it incrementally grows into a pumping skank, after which “Intrusion Dub” ups the ante even more with its opening kick drum pattern and bubbling bass line. Sprinkled with accents of fluttering melodica, the massive dub-funk pulse that lunges into position at the five-minute mark and rolls on thereafter is a wonder to behold. “Seduction” brings the intensity down for a dream-like flow of rippling chords and vapourous textures, prodded by a backbeat pulse that subtly rises to the surface. The pace then diminishes to an almost somnambulant state during “Twilight” but then picks up with the warm, late-night percolations of “A Night To Remember,” the last of the three eleven-minute epics. At disc's end, “Little Angel” shows (not for the first time) that no one's able to ride a dub rhythm with as much ease and agility as Paul St. Hilaire, after which “Under the Ocean” caps the recording with a soothing ambient setting.

Music to bask in and surrender to, The Seduction Of Silence seduces all right: not with silence but with multi-dimensional atmospheric design and ultra-deep grooves. Normally, eighty-minute recordings are overlong but the three Echospace CDs (the Intrusion release plus Deepchord's Vantage Isle Sessions and Model 500's Starlight) never feel padded but rather like travelogues you wish would never end.

February 2009