Hess & Harrison – “Epibenthos Mbira EP” (Echocord Records) [July 9, 2021]

Dub techno maestro Luke Hess teams up with fellow Detroit native Joshua Harrison for a four track release on Echocord’s Colour series. Each track hosts its own radiant aura while also containing savvy and swirling grooves ready to hypnotize dancefloors.

“Benthos” starts it off in typical dub techno fashion, a deep drum groove alongside echoed analog chord stabs. Perfectly structured for the dancefloor, the track effortlessly entrances the listener into the otherworldly environment that they continue to capture throughout the record. In this instance, the mood stays uplifting throughout while wavering from calming and dreamy to forceful and profound.

“Hadal” continues the expedition with running various instruments through a dark and cavernous reverb, creating an abysmal atmosphere for you to get lost in as they leisurely wash forth a swinging beat to move your feet to. As seen throughout the EP, a spiraling white noise background keeps the beat lively and ever-changing like good old-fashioned vinyl crackle, as well as providing continuity to a mood-fluctuating record.

“Nekton” starts off the B-side with an otherworldly chord progression set forth by the warmest of synth pads, providing the calming foundation for what progresses into an entrancing seven-minute journey. Halfway through, the duo ups the energy with an array of dusty and dynamic hat loops that bring a satisfying, albeit short-lived climax to the heavenly and serene number.

Ending the record, the Detroit tandem let their creativity loose on “Upwelling” with a plethora of vibe changeups, brought forth by intriguing sound designs and unique drum programming. Through introductions of a wide range of ethereal synth stabs and percussive one-shots, Hess & Harrison transport you far from earth multiple times before ripping you back with re-emergences of the pounding kick drum.

“Epibenthos Mbira EP” is available on most streaming platforms and bandcamp, as well as in vinyl format.

-Kai Loo

Link – Bandcamp

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