Music has the extraordinary power to alter time and space for its duration, as well as being used to arouse emotions. The terms "abstract" and "concrete" are often used to describe particular music in a way that is widely understood, and yet the actual definitions remain elusive. Echo
, from the band Ikarus, contains music which is extremely powerful, shocking, eerie and, in the end, beautiful. Composer and drummer Ramón Oliveras
, is joined by two vocalists, Stefanie Suhner
and Andreas Lareida
, pianist Luca Fries and bassist Mo Meyer
to produce nine tracks that mesmerize, lull and frequently shock.
Both singers' voices are extremely pure and they are used as instruments since there are no words and frequently not even syllables. The effect ranges from that of the very early vocal music of say, The Anonymous Four, to pure frequency interference, from the soft and pure to the harsh and dissonant.
The piano, bass and drums are extremely well recorded and create a huge sound stage with a deep, deep bottom that envelops in what feels like absolute blackness. Whatever happens, and there many rapid shifts of sound and mood, in front of, but within, this blackness.
What must be said is that those familiar with Nik Bärtsch's Ronin (see here
) will feel quite at home with the music of Ikarus, and in fact Echo
is a Ronin Rhythm Records release. Stylistic labels can be bandied about and RRR lists itself as "a platform for new creative music between new minimal, funk and ritual groove music."
Ikarus shares much with Ronin, especially when multiple rhythms and meters collide and move in and out of phase, but nevertheless with an atomic pulse always present. However, the vocals sounds set Ikarus apart, as does their music's emotional and stylistic range. Each tune is a miniature musical story which spins out through the arrangement, carry all along with it.
In the end, words and labels can only hint at this music's astonishing impact, and a sample of what this terrific band does is here
Get ready for a musical journey that will leave you breathless and exhilarated.