CD Title: From Two Balconies
Label: Independent Release (2017)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
This is album number three from the trio known as Echotest and it’s a bit of a departure from their previously instrumental work because seven of the ten compositions here have vocals. And to my ear it’s a great addition to their complex and frothy musical pallet. These tunes clock in at various lengths, a good many in the four-minute range but at least four of them stretch out to over six. But regardless of how long a song is, each tune is made up of rolling and rumbling bass lines that create a comfortable rhythm that allows the drums to either play along-side of or offer up complex contrasting fills and patterns. Add to the mix musical guests on guitars, trumpets, piano and vocals and then throw in some synth programming and what you have is a musical concoction that sits very comfortably alongside the musical output of artists such as contemporary King Crimson and the music of Adrian Belew. This is music that is more than just “songs”, this is music that works to create a mood, a groove, an atmosphere with just a little bit of discord or dissonance thrown in for good measure. There is an underlying intricacy to the musicianship that shines through without hogging the spotlight or bragging. You just come away from the music here knowing these folks know how to play and more than anything they enjoy making music. The vocals and additional sounds just add to the performance level taking these tunes up a notch or two. More than anything after a couple of listens these tunes drill into your skull and really hook you in and hold your attention. Turns out I ended up liking Echotest a lot more than I thought I would. Great stuff.