Variant The Setting Sun

As soon as I saw the title of the album, I wondered how Echospace main-man Stephen Hitchell was going to conjure up sounds to suit it. His work (and his label) is shot through with analog-generated white noise that sounds like a bitter wind lashing great, treeless mountains of bass frequencies ― certainly not the stuff of golden rays and pretty skies. While these familiar elements are still around it's what's not there that makes this release successful. One would think that Hitchell's Basic Channel channelling dub-wise techno would ensure that a smidgen of Jamaican warmth would always flicker within his music but The Setting Sun jettisons the reggae influence almost entirely. In doing so he's crossed a border into ambience unhindered by the tension of a skanking rhythm. Deep, warm analog pulses resemble bubbles and his typically lustrous sonic architecture conjures up streaky sunlight, even as a granular storm rumbles in the background. By losing the obvious dub-wise affiliation he may disappoint some fans but on its own merits this unhurried pastoral suite suggests Oren Ambarichi or Tangerine Dream in a good mood. (Echospace)