• Sylvain Lupari

CHRIS RUSSELL: Echo (2018)

“From the void, came the sound. This music is an experience with the intention to take the listener on a Journey”

1 Echoes 2:57

2 Radium 6:05

3 Orix 4:46

4 Varuna 6:40

5 Nilium 3:24

6 Sparse 10:56

7 Odjek 8:31

8 Transverter 4:32

9 Abandoned 13:20

Spotted Peccary | SPM-3502 (CD/DDL 61:14) (V.F.)

(Experimental Ambient Music) From the void, came the sound. This music is an experience with the intention to take the listener on a journeyThese words come from Chris Russell when he talks about his latest album, ECHO. And we can't that the man is off the track! But which journey exactly? Carved around unlikely and barely recognizable sounds, ECHO is indeed a journey into the land of tones where the colorful sounds, created from A to Z by the imagination of the American musician, merge into an astonishing symphony of experimental ambient music. The ears are put to the test for at least the half of this album with titles created in a cinematic vision that would go quite well with the science-fiction world of Ridley Scott, if not horror or fantasy as in the film scenes such as Legend, Prometheus and Alien. An imagination in good shape that hears the corridors of spaceships rumbling of mystery through a clever mix of tones and atmospheres stuffed with sonic granules from another dimension. An openness and understanding of Chris Russell's artistic approach is therefore essential if one wants to travel comfortably in the depths of his layest album. And it doesn't start easily! A beating slumps, like a heavy step of a giant, and a sound fauna, torn between the sibylline approach of the synth waves and the melting of tonal metals, broadens its horizons with a strange experience of a suspense or science-fiction movie. The thematic is intense with these big blows well scheduled in the 3 minutes of Echoes where my ears hear the whispers and the brouhahas from the lair of Drakness, the Beast in the Legend movie. From this kind of cinematic ambience, we dive into a storm on Mars with the introduction of Radium which becomes more musical with its two phases of concertos for chimes. Orix extends its bed of industrial buzzes filled by tones of discrete cracklings and of the echo effects in the multiplication of drone lines. The softness of Varuna, whose jingles of various gongs and Tibetan percussions remind me of the good moments of Ray Lynch in Deep Breakfast, tempers a little this climate of tension that emanates from the first titles of ECHO. The tone is always straddling metal screeches, aquatic murmurs and synth waves that you have to imagine. The texture of percussive effects and of anesthetic mists gives it this fascinating morphic softness. I enjoyed this title to his third listening, so everything is possible along the discoveries of this second album of Chris Russell on Spotted Peccary. After a Nilium made of cavernous breezes and dramatic effects in the thrust of stratified lines of iodine dust, Sparse will reconcile lovers of music more ... let say more musical with a nice structure reminiscence of Robert Rich where the rhythm, always ambient, is animated by good percussions whereas the atmospheres transit between the worlds of Robert Rich, Steve Roach for the stars in the night and Erik Wollo for the coldness in the intensity. A very good title that sways the rest of ECHO in a second part where the ambient music is more accessible. And even if Odjek and its strata stigmatized in the mooing of the blue steel can make the ears squeak. Transverter is carved a little in the mold of Nilium, but it's just the cavernous breezes and edible sound granules that fill the ambiences slightly variegated of unique sound effects. Abandoned ends ECHO with an approach aimed to the most fertile imaginations. Very edible to the ears, the music breathes these waves of serenity driven by desert winds. On the other hand, the moods are tinted with a vision of an abandoned society. A ghost town where drag wandering dogs and roar the ghosts of the past whose worn-out murmurs are lost in the movement of the winds. Sometimes sibylline and at times very dreamlike, Abandoned shows how comfortable Chris Russell can be at ease in superb movements that have nothing to envy to master Steve Roach. In the end, and all things considered, ECHO is worth discovering in full because its best moments can also spring in its darkest and most experimental textures.

Sylvain Lupari (August 24th, 2018) ***½**

SynthSequences.com

Available at Spotted Peccary

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