Frank Harris & Maria Marquez - Echoes
Dec 5, 2019
A set of obscure recordings from Venezuelan avant-pop duo dating back to 1985 have finally made their way into a full, proper release 34 years later with Echoes, and it's promptly one of the decade's most enthralling, stunningly sublime art pop projects! God bless the Internet!

Echoes is a mesmerizing, nocturnally gorgeous album that I gladly had the pleasure of discovering, thanks to users like @siberianbreaks. Not only has it stuck around to become one of my most played albums of the year, but its unique composition, hypnotic atmospheres, diverse range of instrumentation, mellow vocal performances and somewhat psychedelic aesthetic makes it an unforgettable voyage! These set of obscure recordings also helped hook my attention into a whole new world of incredible foreign musical aesthetics such as 80s sophisti-pop and Brazilian Bossa Nova, styles that don't get much attention or cred up here in North America.

Echoes is an album filled with especial soundscapes, with the duo's chemistry and flow from one track to the next being that extra cherry on top of the creamy delicious whip cream. It's soothing, laid-back, gentle but at times, haunting, nerve-wracking and very mysterious. I'd even begin to describe some of its smooth sounds to be rather mystical and spiritual in its nature. Even though it seems like a very straightforward, quiet record, there's definitely a lot going on and it's hard to predict just where this album will land with its next artistic move.

And that's the beauty of it, and what makes Echoes such an odd, moderately avant-garde yet captivating and relatively exciting record for what it's going for. Harris and Marquez's vocals are dreamy and hypnotic, the instrumentation at times can jump from elements of smooth sophisticated jazz pop and early synthpop to native tribal aesthetics to uniquely assembled elements of 80s funk and even a few elements of Medieval European choral music (yeah, that's probably the best way I can sum it up). It feels like a Latin American's take on popular "world music", and it certainly succeeds at not only delivering a convincing internationally-influenced sound palette, but also as its own futuristic, ahead-of-the-curve smooth pop vibe.

Even though these were recordings from the 80s, I can definitely hear some of the studio remastering work that was put in place prior to this official 2019 release. And I definitely like the little tweaks made for Echoes. It's a high-definition sound that still captures all of this record's intensity, suspense and raw ambience instead of a squeaky clean, flavorless product.

Definitely a standout record of 2019, and I'd highly recommend this underground gem to anyone looking for some relaxing, but innovative and experimental art pop music.

FAV TRACKS: Canto del pilón, Ethnocity, Tonada de ordeño, Down by the Río, Campesina, Bein' Green

Inglume's Tags
Dec 6, 2019
Wow! This album sounds exceptional, I'm going to listen to it... I really like it when very popular users talk about small underrated gems. Thank you, Jonathan.
Dec 6, 2019
gonna have to check this
Dec 8, 2019
Thank you for giving this more attention
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