All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

1

EchoTest: From Two Balconies

Geno Thackara By

Sign in to view read count
When is a bass duo not a bass duo? For Julie Slick and Marco Machera, the general answer is "whenever we want." Technically they're both electric bassists foremost, but that's far from the only tool in their box. The bottom end was prominent when they first joined forces on Fourth Dementia (self-produced, 2014), but already there was a noticeable emphasis on bending their strings to make guitar and synth sounds too. When they adopted the band name EchoTest with Le Fil Rouge (self-produced, 2015), the mix included more guests and vocals (and guest vocals). With From Two Balconies the duo has wandered even farther away from their instrumental/experimental roots and into mainly song-based territory, while drafting almost a dozen friends to make their strange brew of arty progressive-industrial-space-rock more expansive than ever.

The indirect influence of old-school prog comes through in spots; the words have a vague dramatic story theme and the Peter Gabriel-ish headdresses on those cover figures might not be a complete coincidence. Nonetheless, the electronic sound-sculpting and punchy production leave no doubt just which century we're living in. Touches of Pink Floyd, electric Miles Davis and Nine Inch Nails all come out of the blender sounding lively and fresh, and the band's hearty go-for-it attitude keeps the patchwork quality feeling like an asset more than a flaw.

Slick has sonic weirdness in her DNA—both a cause and effect of a decade holding her own alongside Adrian Belew—and the band's taste for effects gives an especially powerful jolt with the noisy thrakking of "Confirmation Bias" or the oddball surf-punk-meets-Krautrock chant "Radio Sayonara." Machera's crooning is respectively awed and paranoid in his couple vocal spots, while he's happy to turn the mike over to Claire Wadsworth when it's time for a haunting filtered ballad instead. Mike Visser's gritty delivery, meanwhile, is much better suited to "The Plights"'s edgy abrasive strings and the hard-drivingly catchy "Rack+Ruin."

Instrumental pieces are in the minority this time, though they're no less evocative. "Beats in the Brain" makes a great showcase for Pat Mastelotto's drum grooves amidst enough wailing echoes to live up to the group's name; the extended improvisational flow of "Reflect/ Reflex" goes from synth-y space battle to jungle drums before the album fades to a close. It all fits in the progressive-rock world while ambitiously staking out places the genre might go next. With their most energized outing to date, EchoTest remains an inspired outfit crazy enough to try anything and clever enough to make it work.

Track Listing: Supercell; Rack+Ruin; The Mystical Connected Us; Confirmation Bias; Beats in the Brain; The Plight; Sense of Urgency; Pity; Radio Sayonara; Reflect/Reflex.

Personnel: Julie Slick: bass VI, drum programs; Marco Machera: bass V, vocals; Alessandro Inolti: drums; Tim Motzer: guitar (1, 3, 5, 10); Ian Gray: trombone (1, 6); Greg Rosen: trumpet (1, 6); Zach LoPresti: guitar (1); Mike Visser: vocals (1, 2, 6), guitar (8); Ali Wadsworth: vocals (3, 6, 8, 10); Pat Mastelotto: drums (3, 5); Sarah "Flossy" Anderson: violin (6); Claire Wadsworth: vocals, piano (8); Gary Slick: vocals (9).

Title: From Two Balconies | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Prime Time

Prime Time

Test of Time Records
2018

buy
From Two Balconies

From Two Balconies

Self Produced
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Ancestros CD/LP/Track Review
Ancestros
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Bitter Suite CD/LP/Track Review
The Bitter Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Ornettiquette CD/LP/Track Review
Ornettiquette
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Astral Revelations CD/LP/Track Review
The Astral Revelations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Sound Of The Earth CD/LP/Track Review
The Sound Of The Earth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Don't Look Down" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Look Down
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "Oblique (trio)" CD/LP/Track Review Oblique (trio)
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "Live at Kolarac" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Kolarac
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by David Rocheleau-Houle
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Frank Salis" CD/LP/Track Review Frank Salis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "Open Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Open Heart
by Paul Rauch
Published: October 22, 2018