November 14 2013
One of the funkiest little joints just landed from a dope and hard-to-classify artist known as Lord Echo. Lord Echo, AKA New Zealand multi-instrumentalist and producer Mike Fabs, is perhaps better known for his work with another NZ export, the reggae group Black Seeds. You'd be forgiven if you never made that connection as the two projects are far from similar. Where the Black Seeds inhabit a roots-ey space as a reggae band, Lord Echo is the ultimate excursion. And on his sophomore release, Curiosities, we get a sublime tour of his world; of boogie-laced Funk, disco-primed Dub, futuristic Soul, and timeless African rhythms.
Listening to Curiosities, it's apparent Fabs has a love for vintage recording techniques as well a wide, vibrant palette of global sounds on his mind, what sets it off though is how he puts it together. To my ear, it's genius; the album is simultaniously many, diffuse sounds bringing to mind a range of genres all without clearly belonging to one in particular. There is a strong undercurrent of funk that is era-less and prismatic, like soul from the 60's on a hard-clapped 80's funk rhythm and a reggae-skank beat, as on the lead single "Bohemian Idol." A bandwidth of sounds ranging from the Herbie Hancock-era jazz-funk of "Arabesque," to an inspired cover of "The Creator Has a Master Plan." The afro-synth-funk of the instrumental "Digital Haircut" to the disco reggae skank-funk of "Molten Lava" with Leila Adu. This album is as deep as it is dope; from desktop to dancefloor to dinner party; jammin!