Published May 06, 2020Close your eyes and lean your head back against something soft and safe when you listen to Echoes, the latest release from Indoor Voices, the dreamy project helmed by Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist Jonathan Relph. The brighter and more uplifting sibling EP to the the urgent, screeching Animal, released earlier this year, Echoes is outward- and upward-looking, sending out echoes of sonic healing.
The first track, "You're Way Older," is like waking up and feeling safe and loved, and it flows into "Passerby" as inevitably as a wave crashes. Lyrics like "The world will pass you by / And you're a passerby" scan as dark, but the tenor of the music isn't upset by this, accepting this fact as the human condition. Therein lies Relph's insight: healing lies in how we react to what happens to us. And our reaction has the potential to be calm and steady, if not happy.
Animal succeeded on a subliminal level, and Echoes is no different: it doesn't grate against the senses, going instead with the grain, with the flow of your thoughts while steadying your breathing. And through the music's ameliorative quality, Echoes fosters healing or movement toward the light, whatever this might mean for each listener.
Take, for example, "Seija," a soft track that rolls calmly like a warm day at the beach — it encompasses and envelops without constraining, similar to a sepia-toned memory. Echoes is almost narrative in its cinematic scope, and "Left for You to Find" brings tears to the eyes wordlessly with its sweetly delicate flute. It's a journey that first helps us to situate ourselves within our minds and bodies, and then in the world.
Listening to Echoes reminds us that we are here, that we are safe, that we will be okay, a reminder to keep breathing through difficult times. Echoes is a calming listen that will help us to better cope with all that is going on in the world right now. (Independent)