Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Echoes and Signals

Welcome back once again fellow progheads!  As summer starts her 2014 swansong I decided to go crazy and take the Concert Closet on a "virgin voyage" in my quest for all things prog, traveling to previously uncharted territory (at least for me).  So with excitement and anticipation in the air I head to Russia and the progressive sounds of Echoes and Signals.

Echoes and Signals hails from Tula, Russian Federation.  They describe themselves as a three-piece instrumental band, "...mixing post-rock with post-everything."  Currently the band is working on a concept album; always prog music to my ears.  Listening to Echoes and Signals this week makes me believe that if Putin would just settle down and turn up the volume there would be less problems and better international relations around the globe...Glasnost indeed...

The long travel from the US to Russia makes me hungry for this prog feast, so I jump in right away with a tune called "Memories."  A very striking instrumental piece; robust drums with guitar intertwined such that you feel yourself being pulled inside your own head.  I get a strong sense of Alan Parsons Project's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" and some Atomic Rooster oozing through as well.  While the music is on the dark side of the spectrum, I don't get an ominous feeling of danger...rather I sense a dim light trying to burn away the darkness.  Halfway through that light is almost blinding as it peels back the gloom and the music settles over everything as if it were your favorite blanket.

Serving number two is called "Moons, Seas, Constellations."  This is a very moving piece; you can feel yourself being swept up in emotions as the music builds toward a climax right from the onset.  The drumming and percussion is so raw it is almost primitive...a la Jamie Muir in early King Crimson.  Echoes and Signals play what I call naked music--no fancy gift wrap, no auto-tune, no light shows to make the listener ooh and aah...just music at its core.  This is a song to put on replay a few times so it can wash over you the way scotch washes over ice...

Liner Notes...Echoes and Signals was formed in 2012 in the aforementioned  Tula, Russian Federation.  The original line-up consisted of Fedor Kivokurtsev on guitar and sound producing, Alexey Zaytsev on bass, and Vladimir Pozdyshev on drums...however; after recording tracks for the new release Vladimir was replaced by Yaroslav Egorov.  Echoes and Signals started as an "improvisational playground" for Fedor, Alexey, and Vladimir...but it didn't take long for talent to get noticed, a concept EP to be released, and the making of a "real band" to get underway.  2013 saw Echoes and Signals sign with a label and start a tour.  Currently working on their third album, Echoes and Signals has begun to establish deep, strong roots in the prog garden.

My third selection for review this week is a song called "Comma."  I get an instant mind flash to the Yes "Fragile" album, and Echoes and Signals dances through most of that vinyl masterpiece in six minutes plus.  They top it off with  a touch of early Pink Floyd just to keep it appealing.  Many bands try to wear the "progressive music" moniker; perhaps they believe it will make them sound smarter or attract a more diverse audience.  Echoes and Signals wear it because that is truly what they are--a progressive rock band--not afraid to step outside the paradigm and experiment a little.  I believe Robert Fripp would be proud.

The clip posted here is called "Equinox Part II."  A slight bit heavier sound coming through the headphones, but I think you can handle it.  Echoes and Signals defines the term "post-everything."  I pick up strong traces of Gentle Giant, Tool, and the Adrian Belew/Bill Bruford era King Crimson.  Echoes and Signals are students of the progressive genre who studied tenaciously.  Listen and enjoy like that scotch I poured you earlier...sip it slowly and take it all in.  Learn more about Echoes and Signals at http://echoesandsignals.com/music/

Hope you have enjoyed the progressive view from Russia fellow progheads; it has been quite a journey. One more push pin on the map as another country is accounted for in my quest for all things prog.  Echoes and Signals are able to cross boundaries and avoid getting lost in translation because prog music has a way of penetrating barriers the way dryers lose socks...it just happens.  Do yourself a favor and avoid multi-tasking for the next hour or so...sit back, dim the lights, and just let Echoes and Signals pierce your auditory canal...you're welcome.  Being so far from home I need to find another stop for the Concert Closet as I work my way "stateside" in my quest for all things prog...until next week...

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