The Coldest Season compiles and fuses the eight tracks from a four-part 12" series released during mid-2007 on England's Modern Love label, adding one beat-less/bass-less piece to help assemble a steadily flowing, discreetly stimulating, 80-minute whole. This is breathing ambient dub techno, just as exemplary of the form as anything made by Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald (Basic Channel), Andy Mellwig and Thomas Köner (Porter Ricks), René Löwe (Vainqueur), and Stefan Betke (Pole). Rod Modell, who has been producing ambient electronic music for over ten years -- with well-regarded solo releases on the Silentes label, as well as feverishly collected singles as half of Deepchord -- came up with the raw source material, including loops made from Detroit field recordings, while partner Steven Hitchell made point-perfect sense of it all. Depending on your mindset, the disc can be ominously disquieting or oddly comforting, like the sensation you might get from being marooned in a prairie on the wrong side of the tracks. Though a lack of indexing would make to-the-second track separation nearly impossible, each of the nine tracks has its own characteristics -- this despite the fact that the basic components are limited to dubwise basslines that fade in and out, heavily treated percussive accents, shapeshifted textures, and, as importantly as anything else, echo. If there is one track that stands out, it is "Aequinoxium," not only for its accessibility, but its rather novel sound design as well, from its hypnotically moving bass vamps to its several layers of reverberating thwacks and barely perceptible undercurrents of a paranoiac's personal movie theme. There are some mild surprises, too. "Celestialis" breaks most from conventional four-four thrum, slowly introducing some rhythmic patter that sounds like a soft-shoe shuffle done on silt. Closer "Empyrean" is the disc's most straightforward section, carrying a sideways skank that is almost pleasantly propulsive -- possibly the closest Modell has come to doing straight dub reggae.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman