Mix of the hour. I feel like being in a funky place now!
Rich Medina mixes Lord Echo’s new album ‘Curiosities’
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Bastard Jazz Recordings is proud to present the sophomore album Curiosities by New Zealand multi- instrumentalist and producer Lord Echo (aka Mike Fabs). An enticing sonic excursion that effortlessly transcends genre and geography, the release finds Echo flexing his dual-mastery of 60’s production techniques and modern dancefloor aesthetics, while also highlighting the vocal prowess of his soulful compatriots through a flowing blend of boogie-laced Funk, disco-primed Dub, futuristic Soul, and timeless African rhythms.
Fabs, known worldwide for his production work with NZ’s biggest Reggae export The Black Seeds, drew a groundswell of excitement around his debut solo album Melodies in late 2010. The independent release became a cult classic strictly through word-of-mouth, championed by tastemakers like Gilles Peterson (who played it repeatedly on his BBC Radio 1 show), Oliver Wang (Soulsides) and Richard Dorfmeister. Re-issues of the album soon followed in Japan and Europe, with vinyl copies quickly becoming a hot commodity among discerning collectors around the globe. Echo was introduced to Bastard Jazz’s DJ DRM in 2011 (via Detroit producer Recloose), and a limited 7” vinyl release on the Brooklyn-based imprint soon followed in 2012, precipitating this full length release with the label.
Curiosities picks up right where Melodies left off, with the sun-drenched psychedelic dub sounds of tracks like “Bohemian Idol” (featuring vocals by Toby Laing of Fat Freddy’s Drop), and the jerky funk vibes of cuts like “Digital Haircut” and “Street Knowledge”. The album provides a wealth of DJ fodder, with forward thinking 70s-inspired disco tunes such as “Molten Lava” (featuring the soaring vocals of Leila Adu), as well as analog Afro-infused burners like “What Is That Feeling” and “Put It In My Head” (complemented by the golden-voiced Mara TK of Electric Wire Hustle fame). Down-home spiritual jazz/electronic meanderings (“Ghost Hands”, “Arabesque”) provide a counterpoint to Echo’s driving cover-version of the Pharoah Sanders & Leon Thomas classic “The Creator Has a Master Plan”. His inspiring take on the track is uplifted by the soulful singing of Lisa Tomlins (who’s notable vocals on Echo’s rendition of Sister Sledge’s “Thinking Of You” made it a standout hit from his Melodies album).
The finely-tuned collaborations throughout Curiosities underscore Lord Echo’s pivotal position in the thriving New Zealand music scene. “I generally only work with people I know quite well personally”, says Echo humbly. That personal and organic approach to creating his music is revealed as the album unfolds, layer by delectable layer. “I made this record primarily with DJs in mind,” he continues. “They are generally people who really love music and are often obsessed with various aspects of it. I’m not making music for people for whom it’s just some background noise in their lives, I’m making music for people for whom it IS their lives. And for better or worse, I guess I am one of those people.”
A diverse, yet grounded LP chock full of head-turning sounds, Curiosities further pushes Lord Echo’s repertoire into the realm of the inimitable, and is sure to pique the interest of discerning music lovers from down-under to the big apple.