Stephen Hitchell's full-length debut under his Intrusion moniker literally picks up where his last full-length—Echospace's 2007 epic The Coldest Season, recorded with partner-in-crime Rod Modell—left off. The massive "Empyrean" that closed The Coldest Season with a floor-friendly journey into dub techno was the album's most overtly Jamaican-sounding and beat-laden track, and the Intrusion sound finds its roots within its blueprint.
If The Coldest Season's was an updated take on Basic Channel's glacial soundscapes, then The Seduction of Silence sees Hitchell bringing the more explicitly reggae-influenced sounds of Rhythm and Sound into the present—including two cuts (one a chilled dub mix of the other) with the honeyed vocals of Paul St. Hilaire (AKA Tikiman). The Caribbean lilt present throughout the album (last year's mighty "Tswana Dub" single, included here, and the two cuts with St. Hilaire being the standout examples) lends a unified air to the proceedings. Hitchell slowly but surely increases the pace and intensity of the tracks from the opener "Montego Bay" through to the shuddering, staggering "Intrusion Dub" before pulling back on the reins with the slinky, sexy "Seduction" and then alternates between the deadly intense and dead mellow on the album's back half before finally concluding with the sparkling ambient coda of "Under the Ocean."
Hitchell's solo work is far more rhythmically adventurous and danceable than most Echospace material. The delayed and doctored analog pulses (no sequencers here, thanks) are adorned with a smattering of congas and other percussion, as well as a standard deep bass drum stomp and Studio 1-inspired bass lines. Make no mistake—the album doesn't sound explicitly like King Tubby; it's more like his ghost is haunting your favorite Maurizio sides.
Beyond the phased and echoed chords and analog atmospherics, though, there is a palpable sense of spirituality present here that distinguishes The Seduction of Silence from most other dub techno, which has a tendency to be cold and metallic. There's a warm, celestial quality in the melodies here that looks skyward, and St. Hilaire's cuts provide the perfect bookends to the album; the dubbed-out "Angel Version" is track two, while the full vocal version "Little Angel" comes second to last. The lovestruck, inspirational lyrics and St. Hilaire's soothing tones go a long way toward lending a definitive voice to the album that travels beyond mere vocals into a deeper meaning that transcends the ten tracks.
Though individual highlights abound on The Seduction of Silence, the album works best when taken as a whole, an endorsement of Hitchell's vision for an expertly paced and executed album that raises the bar on the dub techno game to stratospheric levels. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better winter warmer than this; remember it with warm thoughts when winter returns later this year, when it's time for year-end polls. -Resident Advisor
Stephen Hitchell is one half of the massively influential Echospace project with DeepChord's Rod Modell. You all know that. If you don't you are probably dead or an infant child with no concept of the International dub techno mainframe. These Detroit boys have been carrying the torch for sleek, warm neon-lit ambient/dub techno for years, their gaseous, enveloping music cleansing the souls and minds of 1000's of devotees worldwide.
This is his solo masterpiece under the Intrusion banner. Yes. It's a total masterpiece. I don't use that word lightly. This fine thing came out years ago but is so highly regarded Echospace have bowed to public pressure and re-issued it in a cute double digipak with a whole slew of re-fits, re-mixes, re-shapes and re-revisions on the bonus disc from their various other ES umbrella projects. I'm not going to waffle on except to say if you really love the deepest, most spacious dub-inflected rhythms (see: the very cream of Rhythm & Sound/Basic Channel) and gently ricocheting electronica packed with spiritually enriching sonic detail then you'd be a right sad sack to pass up on this amazing package. Both discs are absolutely tremendous as is just about everything on the label.
It's a relatively expensive set (their stuff is never cheap, alas) but if you desire one profoundly calming, inspirational and timeless techno-orientated feast this week then bang 'The Seduction Of Silence' in your cart. Echospace-related stuff never sticks around for long in the EU, mark my words.
-10/10 from Brian (Staff) -Norman Records
There's something quite special at work on Steven Hitchell's first solo album. Recording under the name Intrusion and working with the excellent techno-reggae vocalist Paul St. Hilaire on two tracks, Hitchell employs techno, reggae, dub, ambient, and African elements to define a huge and echoey but also warm and welcoming sonic space that changes color and texture somewhat from track to track, but maintains a sense of soft grandeur throughout. On "Montego Bay" a no-nonsense house beat anchors a gently swirling torrent of dubwise sound shards; on "Angel Version," St. Hilaire's voice is nicely complemented by a faux-rainy ambience that somehow manages to sound perfect rather than cheesy; on "Intrusion Dub" the contours of an actual reggae song emerge out of the murky sonic soup and the house-cum-rockers rhythmic throb, complete with an actual chord progression (only two chords, naturally) and shredded wisps of melodica. "Seduction" is more quiet and contemplative than sexy, and the album's final hidden track is ambient in an almost Brian Eno-ish style. The dark and echoey grooves are all grist for the downtempo mill, but there's something more subtle deep in the heart of this music as well -- a spirit that is not quite meditative, not quite joyful, not quite explicitly uplifting, but that still somehow communicates all of those things at once. -All Music Guide
The Intrusion full-length is finally here - a massively anticipated follow up of sorts to 'The Coldest Season' album and without question the most fully-realised Echospace project since that album came out 18 months ago. Steve Hitchell reserves his Intrusion moniker for his rich and sumptuous dub experiments, more Rhythm & Sound as opposed to the to M-Series or BC references more commonly associated with the Deepchord axis. Referencing the Caribbean on 'Montego Bay' the padded, heady structure of the music infuses the massive sense of space with a warm and breezy pulse that sets this music apart from so much of the rubber-coated preset teasing that passes for dub techno these days. Paul St. Hilaire, meanwhile, adds a typically righteous vocal presence alongside luxurious Fender Rhodes on 'Angel', a beautiful cut exclusive to this CD issue. The best tracks from the 12"s are compiled with 'Intrusion Dub', 'Seduction', 'Reflection', 'Tswana Dub' and 'Twilight', in addition to the glorious 'A Night To Remember' inspired by his travels to Japan. Crazily limited to a mere 300 copies only, the cd is now completely sold out at source so we strongly recommend you get a nudge on if you want in. Highly Recommended! -BOOMKAT
Of all the many producers who've continued to refine the dub/techno blueprint sketched out in the mid '90s by Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald as Basic Channel, Detroit's Echospace — comprised of Stephen Hitchell and Rod Modell — are rightly the most garlanded. On The Seduction Of Silence, Hitchell dons his Intrusion moniker for more fuzzily lachrymose cuts, all of them marked by thick, hypnotic 4/4 pulses, spiralling echoes and submerged bass rumbles.
The opening lurch of "Montego Bay," with its sudden switch from slo-mo rambling to direct, surprising sturdiness works as a neat template for what follows, Hitchell carefully pairing the horizontal tones of home-listening warmth with the more forceful demands of the dancefloor. Make no mistake though, it's a dancefloor of the deepest, most doleful variety we're talking about; the aquatic kick drums and glooping reverb of "Angel Version" entwine themselves around regular Ernestus and Oswald contributor Paul St. Hilaire's heavenly feather-light vocals, while "A Night To Remember" layers lush static washes over barely-there bass and delicately poised percussion.
Like all the best dub, and indeed the best techno, Seduction inhabits the murky area between moving and staying still, between sleeping and waking, stretching time with its slow-morphing, endlessly unravelling loops. It's been said that the micro-scene that orbits around the sounds pioneered Basic Channel, Chain Reaction and the rest is at its finest when it can't be replicated by your memory after hearing it — music that's so textured it can't be hummed, or drummed, or experienced in any fundamental way when it's not playing. In this languid dream of an album, Hitchell has proved that he has this intangible techno hinterland at his fingertips, masterfully channelling the echoing ghosts of dub's past and re-forging them as beguiling entities all of their own. -Emusic
Certain schools of thought believe the highest achievements of dub techno have been long ago attained by the likes of Maurizio and his Basic Channel/Chain Reaction cohorts. However there is no denying the stunning addendums from the likes of Quantec, Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell et al. have furthered the legacy of the deep, dubby sound. Hitchell has been carving out a name for himself since the early days of the millennium with his stunning twelves and EPs under various guises and now marks his debut foray into the full length album stakes as Intrusion.
There are other producers of this sound who have made their own mark with rich, palatable offerings of dub-wise bounty, some steeped in the blueprint of those who came before them, others presenting a more modern slant. For my money though the refined sound-sculpture of Intrusion captures the essence of this music’s past as well as staying true to the ethos of dub being a future gazing sound. This becomes more and more apparent throughout listening to The Seduction Of Silence, especially on repeat as the frayed textures weave in and out of the atmospheric hiss and tape noise, that sonic grit itself punctuating the notes through various filters and gates.
This is not just a well realized and cohesive album, but also one displaying an encompassing approach to dub techno, from the spatial, languid grooves on “Montego Bay” to the more upbeat, faster paced “Intrusion” and “Tswana Dub” (the latter even sound checks its own history with a nod to the disco zaps of the 70′s era Brentford Road producers). For every peak of intensity reached a more sedate, gloriously downbeat moment follows, the apex reached via the ten plus minute instrumental sounds of “A Night To Remember,” which is about as heady and trance-inducing as dub techno gets. Things start winding down with “Little Angel,” quite fittingly featuring the heavenly vocals of Paul St. Hilaire, the Dominican with a long associated history within the genre. More commonly St. Hilaire’s lyrics are songs of praise or rastaman’s lament; “Little Angel,” though, is a love paean through and through and marks an exit towards the ambient rub of “Under The Ocean.”
Where other albums represent a more clinical or detached take on this oeuvre, Hitchell’s heart is in the analogue gear he uses, giving The Seduction Of Silence an unbridled human warmth that is the very pulse of emotion. It’s this feeling — all at once melancholy yet hopeful — that keeps this album on continuous loop on my system and surely makes it worthy of consideration as as an early contender for album of the year. -Little White Earbuds
Far from a routine exercise in dub techno, The Seduction of Silence slowly reveals itself as a warm and wonderful place to be. Crafted by Stephen Hitchell (half of Deepchord), the album is defined by its warmth, space, and strong, slow builds. Muscular, dubwise basslines coil around the tunes, weaving distant African percussion, sub-bass kicks, melodica, and dub-chord waves into timeless, pulsing grooves. At times recalling Pole’s and Rhythm & Sound’s best work, the music culls from those artists’ best aspects while still maintaining a fresh and unique sound. Seduction looks outside the standard Maurizio cohort, as Hitchell prefers to channel King Tubby swimming alone at night. -XLR8R Magazine
Echospace has been dominant in the techno dub sweepstakes over the last two years. The Detroit label has paid tribute to both the European origins of the genre and its Detroit location, particularly with their project reconfiguring Model 500 last year. Even by this label's increasingly high standards, The Seduction Of Silence is a gem. Unlike Deepchord, Steven Hitchell's chilly collaboration with Rod Modell, Intrusion radiates warmth. Two versions of "Little Angel" with Paul St. Hilaire set the pace, where dramatic filter sweeping washes over the song like a tropical breeze. "Montego Bay" delivers on its promise, with gentle waves of sound, which turn into an irresistible undertow. Even the most remote sonics, such as "Twilight," still manage to stir the soul in unexpected ways. The tiniest details warrant scrutiny on this disc but the whole is a lovely journey in sound that also works in less intensive listening circumstances. Hitchell makes you think about the emotional content of pink noise. -EXCLAIM Magazine
Best album of 2009 in numerous magazines and honorable mentions in The Wire, XLR8R, Textura, NPR, GO, De-Bug, Groove and more. This digital edition includes 3 songs (11, 12, 13) which weren't featured on the physical CD release.
released November 15, 2013
"A Night To Remember" inspired by the 2008 Labyrinth Festival, Japan.
Paul St. Hilaire appears courtesy of False Tuned.
This album is dedicated to my children, family and the only father I've ever known: Robert Lee Hitchell (R.I.P.)
A special thanks to all the fans, distributors, stores, believers and friends who have supported and embraced this music,
without you none of this would be possible.