On the Radar: Stephen Brown – Power Factor EP

Echochord Colour have dropped the latest release from Scottish techno producer, Stephen Brown. The Waveform Transmitter’s Dan Crossey gets involved.

Today we have the absolute pleasure of reviewing the notorious Scottish legend Stephen Brown, who has had a string of releases from various labels including Derrick May’s Transmat, Ben Sim’s Theory and Djax Up Beats to name a few. Stephen is one of the few producers who chooses his labels for the right reasons, always for experience and instinct rather than exposure. His longstanding career of producing, playing live and mixing has made him a powerful force within the underground techno scene.

This week, Stephen has released a three track vinyl EP from the Copenhagen sub-label Echocord Colour of Echocord records founded by Kenneth Christiansen. Echocord Colour contains a variety of releases from established talented forces from the deep dub techno/electronica family including Mike Dehnert and Deadbeat.

It takes an experienced and sophisticated artist to be able to make an impact with a track that uses few components to allow for plenty of breathing space which Mr Brown has certainly delivered on. The EP sounds like a mixture of Detroit electric iciness with a soothing spaced out bass. Like dub with Robert Hood trampling all over it.

First off we have Sandtext, that has a smothering warm and powerful bass, contrasting with the sharp and hissy scratches that give you shudders down your neck. A raw, almost complete acoustic sounding high-hat is blended in to get the ball rolling. The whole emotion and feeling of the song is transformed, when an epic dreamy and serene synth line is brought in that gives the song a cinematic and reflective feel to it.

Next we have Wet with a more dubby and wobbly base combined with a light and modest muted kick. Metallic and electric synth chords are splashed chaotically with a lot of filter, which slowly become sharper and clearer as the track synchronises. A rhythmical rolling high hat along with low end pulses again gives the track a warm but contrasting sharp edge to it.

Finally, we have Back Stroke where Stephen’s Detroit influences really shine through, with groovy shocks and static stabs wherein the funk lies this time rather than the bass. Sharp, icy, high-hats and hollow toms are spread throughout, with timings and subtle pauses that give the tune a sophisticated Derrick May feel to it. It feels like you are in a disco in cyberspace, with a funky and friendlier melody to it.

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