Eccodek Singing in Tongues

Eccodek Singing in Tongues
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Guelph's Andrew Macpherson has been working away at Eccodek for more than ten years. The project has gone from a wild studio hybrid to a polished live ensemble to this most recent incarnation: the big beats of yore have given way to a more subtle, elastic groove. Afrobeat is a prime influence on several cuts, including the opening track "Village In Me." On further listens it's clear that Eccodek hasn't changed that much.

Compared to ten years ago, this is a much more refined and thorough exploration of rhythm, with more subtle use of electronics in melodic and textural roles, but songwriting remains an issue. While there is an even wider variety of vocalists and instruments, the settings in which they're placed are only sometimes engaging, like Onkar Singh's turn on "In Confidence" before the too-linear backbeat kicks in. That's what sets "In My Tribe" apart: it's got a strong vocal hook from Jah Youssouf, which makes a big difference when dealing with this kind of fusion project. The final track "Permission To Speak" is differently nice, with Hang drum and clarinet paired in a spacious duet. (White Swan)