Eccodek Voices Have Eyes

Eccodek Voices Have Eyes
This is a much anticipated album from Canada’s best known worldbeat artist. Eccodek main man Andrew McPherson broadens his palette from his last disc, the profoundly Bill Laswel-inflected More Africa in Us. For starters, the bossa groove "Spacehall Dub” sounds like Tosca with a Kompak-tian dub treatment — turn it up loud for greatest effect. It’s the best of the these intricate but subtle dub compositions. Another change from Eccodek’s previous work is the reduced emphasis on churning bass lines — perhaps odd coming from a bassist, but lessening Laswell comparisons. Voices Have Eyes covers more mileage around the globe, originating in Africa and traipsing through Fiji and India. The sub-continental vibe gives the disc its most uplifting cut: the tripped-out processed vocals of ghazal singer Kiran Ahluwalia on "Heart’s Desire Dub.” Also noteworthy are the tablas, which transform "Words with the Griot” from a dead ringer for the Mandingo Griot Society into something more universal. Throughout, the mood is lighter than previous record — much more chill than menace, but an absorbing listen. These tracks are going to end up on a lot of compilations.

Voices Have Eyes incorporates more influences from around the world — was there an overall strategy to this? Andrew McPherson: I knew that I really wanted to expand on the palate I’d begun with on More Africa in Us. I realised that although I’m extremely drawn to African sources, I’m also increasingly open to other cultural influences. So in the back of my mind I consciously was keeping the door open to new direction... It seemed that the singers from Nigeria and Turkey just kept showing up at my door. They are recent arrivals in Guelph from their respective homelands so it seemed fated somehow when I made the conscious decision to expand the Eccodek aesthetic that they should present themselves.

How did the track with Kiran Ahluwalia come about? She and I share management (meta4world.com) and when I was in Montreal last year for the Strictli Mundial conference I was just so taken by her performance that the collaborative light went on. My neighbour in Guelph just happened to be the engineer on the sessions from which that vocal track is taken on her last record, so it all seemed a bit ordained from above or something. It’s funny because since I did the track with Kiran, both Bill Laswell with Karsh Kale and the guys in Delerium have called up to do tracks with her. (Independent)