Band: The Echelon Effect
Title: Field Recordings
Genre: Ambient, Drone, Instrumental, Post-Rock, Soundscape
Band introduction: The Echelon Effect came to life amid the long winter nights of February 2009, born from a burning desire to fall in love with music again. It started with a laptop and an idea: write a track, and make it huge. But one track became four, an EP that needed an audience. The tracks were posted on Myspace. And people began to listen – Taken from the artist’s Facebook page
1st Listen: I think of a lullaby as the first piano notes of “Intro” announce themselves. From the description of the album, “This album is about flying”, I know I am in for a relaxing, uplifting time. During the 2nd track I feel one of those tear jerks that make a piece of music that much more rewarding. I hold it back; I’m a man (and at work!). There is nothing wrong with being moved by music. Probably my most emotional music experience was Sigur Ros’s ( ), and this album, so far, has that feel about it.
After that the album becomes even more subdued and starts to make use of the field recordings; usually sat at the back of the mix while piano and synths wash over them. Drums come into play on occasion, but don’t overpower the laidback feel of the tracks.
If you like ambience and feeling relaxed you should have a listen to this.
2nd Listen: “Intro” is exactly that. Piano and reverse signal effects slowly fade in over a minute and track 2 comes in. “Tracking Aeroplanes” reminds my of Sigur Ros’s “Untitled 3” in the way it progresses. It relies heavily on a simple piano arpeggio and sound develops underneath it. A second instrument, Glockenspiel possibly, adds layers; as does a guitar. The sounds beneath the track slowly rise to the top of the mix and the swirling synth really makes this track peak. It is a truly uplifting emotional experience; the definition of being simple, but highly effective.
“Antenna” is all about heavily delayed piano notes with a shimmering synth part which is mysterious and also there is a certain darkness to this track. It’s all over too soon though, but fades into “Call to Ground”. A layer of noise builds and that piano creeps out from underneath. A field recording sits in with the track; sounds of engines, I think, growl slowly in the background as the synth pushes chords out over the top. It’s like flying, I guess. Not in the comparably safe environment of a plane, but out in the sky on your own, floating. The drums come in and send a shiver down my whole body. This is amazing.
That last track is going to take some beating. “Outer Marker” is set outside on a summer morning as the sun rises. Birds chirp and drums bring the world to life. A brightly played arpeggio drives the track along until a marching beat forces its way in and the track finishes on a darker note.
Field Recordings finishes with “The Brightest Star You See Is My Wingtip Over Your Home”. It’s more of the same pianos and synths, with optimistic overtones; another shiver runs down my spine. It is time to land…
3rd Listen: I was really looking forward to listening to this again. So much so I neglected to plug in my headphones and treated my whole office to this amazing piece of work. Well, the first couple of minutes anyway, somebody came to my desk and pointed out that my headphones weren’t plugged in. I just thought they were broken so I kept increasing the volume!
I plugged them in and started again. Not much else I can say about this album. It’s getting better with every listen as I pick out the subtle nuances. Once again my only negative is that I cannot get a physical copy of this. I should start to embrace the digital age, I guess.
Conclusion: An incredible piece of work that is powerful and moving. You are missing out if you do not give this a listen. If you do give it a listen I can almost guarantee it won’t be the last time.
- First Impression: Good
- Final Impression: Good