Echo Twelve: “Soulitude” – sparkles with dozens of tiny details

Echo Twelve fell in love with electronic music at the age of 12 when he discovered groups such 808 State and Beats International, as well as the burgeoning acid house scene. From there, he developed a preference for more underground sounds, and spent many an evening tuning in to Irish pirate radio stations such as Power FM to hear the sort of house music that could not be heard anywhere else. In his first EP, “Soulitude”, released earlier this year, he delivers suave, refined and pretty posh arrangements infused with cheeky and bustling synths that eventually growl and squeal under sometimes hard-hitting and sweltering beats.

There is a contrast of sorts running through the arrangements. There’s a mood of dreamy melancholy, enhanced by production that’s opulent without being ostentatious. And that’s usually a hard balance to reach. Indeed, sumptuous and accomplished as it is, “Soulitude” echoes other great creative electronic records. It is definitely not dinner party music and will even quench those with a hunger for more experimental fare.

Echo Twelve
Echo Twelve

Echo Twelve’s ear is sharpened to a degree that rivals anyone else’s in the business. “Soulitude” sparkles with dozens of tiny details but you never lose their outlines; Echo Twelve’s structures are shapely but feel loosely draped.

From song to song you certainly notice the way parts of the percussion shift timbre, the roundness of the low end, the dry swig of some of the filtering—it’s easy to hear it strictly as a piece of production. But for all its fleeting, phantom touches, thick underlying synth riffs keep it legible from a distance, and enticing.

Though Echo Twelve isn’t stuck in the head-nodding syndrome, “Cascada” is a good example of how the bass and crushing drumbeat’s centrality to the mix is like an infrared glow that makes it feel closer to modern dubstep than dark ambient. And in fact he has a knack for building busy drum and percussion tracks that will blow your mind – case in point, “Darkest Hour”, which bristles with fiery energy and an electrifying bassline.

Echo Twelve’s intricate arrangements—melodic but never quite melodies—cue ears to listen closely, and rewards are significant; as evasive as they can be at the beginning the tracks usually build to fully satisfying climaxes. The best example of these arrangements may be “Unleashed”, which is one of my favorite tracks on this EP, along with “Everything and Nothing”.

Echo Twelve’s has struck an inimitable almost signature sound on “Soulitude”, the listening experience is akin to slowly regaining consciousness in a darkened forest; walking around in dazed contentment before stumbling into an isolated crowd in the thick of a progressive rave!


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