Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recently Played: Model 500 - Deep Space

Continuing from my earlier discussion of Basic Channel, I now move on to the topic of Model 500. One the anointed Detroit originals, Atkins was a co-founder of the proto-techno Cybotron, whose recordings ("Clear," for example) arguably invented what we now call techno. Perhaps besting the classic Cybotron material, Atkins has recorded from the mid-80s up to the present under such names as Model 500 and Infiniti. His sound is one of several blueprints for the Detroit sound, taking jazz, soul, and funk sounds, and reconfiguring them for a Kraftwerk's “computer world.” Whether it's best experienced through his Infiniti project or his Model 500 project is, I suppose, mostly a question of taste, but certainly a great deal of his best work's come out under the Model 500 banner, most of it through Atkins' own Metroplex Records. In this music you'll find no shortage of squelching synths, aggressive beat patterns, hypnotic repetition, and twilight haze. Of course, Atkins isn't German, like Basic Channel, but in the early 90s he teamed up with Thomas Fehlmann and Moritz von Oswald (as discussed in the earlier post) in a group called 3MB. And in 1995, Atkins returned to Berlin and - with a little help from von Oswald, Fran├žois Kevorkian, and Kevin Saunderson - recorded his long-play masterpiece, Deep Space. This record, along with a retrospective collection of Model 500's singles, Classics, were both issued by Belgium's R&S Records, but have been out of print for quite a long time now. Luckily, I picked up the singles collection way back when it was still pressed, but Deep Space has eluded me for something like a decade. Mere days after finding, purely by chance, the previously discussed Basic Channel mp3s, I learned that eMusic, Beatport, and perhaps a few other mp3 vendors have made these R&S Model 500 essentials available on mp3 for the first time. Along with these, they also now carry R&S releases from Derrick May, Aphex Twin, Ken Ishii, Joey Beltram, and others. And if that isn't satisfactory enough, CD reissues are scheduled to hit stores in early June.

So this has actually been my first opportunity to hear Deep Space, and it definitely lives up to the hype that haunted me all those years, conjuring that aforementioned twilight haze perhaps better than ever. Sure, Deep Space sounds very much like a record recorded in '95, but gloriously so. Check the future soul of “The Flow” to see what I mean. And, if you need something a little more “now,” there's the very Berlin-sounding “Starlight,” a late-night ride past quasars and supernovas that would ably complete for headphones single of the year, were it first released in any of the last four years. Here are those two tracks, plus a non-album bonus, since I'm such a nice guy.

Model 500 – Starlight (1995)
Model 500 – The Flow (2995)
Model 500 – Starlight (Moritz von Oswald Mix) (1995)

In the next post, my focus will be a little more local, covering Wolfgang Voigt's recordings as Gas.

1 comment:

Mark Jabbusch said...

You have amazing 'music memory'. This sound bite does sound 'far out' of my normal appreciation; but I can almost follow your description of its evolution.

I do like the Rorschach picture of galaxies taking on an UltraSound picture of new life.