Ekko The Strange

Hifi Mantra Records, 2022

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


When I listen to an artist with the word “strange” in their title, I'm naturally going to expect some oddities. When I also see them describing their music as “'Alien Keyboards,” “Psycho-Geography” and “Nocturnal Bliss,” well, my curiosity is sufficiently piqued.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Ekko The Strange, who resides in Warsaw, Poland but is from Les Bois, Idaho, is quite versed in post-punk, gothic tendencies and New Wave nods, and these eight very unusual songs certainly live up to his moniker in a sonically feral and moody ’80s sort of way.

“Exotic” leads off the eight-track album with thumping, nearly tribal drumming, before warbling synth enters alongside ominous vocals in a synthwave-meets-goth hybrid. “Gleboki (Deep)” then follows with a similar darkness, only with a dance-friendly beat (think New Order), and “Vamps” takes this lead into hypnotic territory that’s quite haunting.

Sandwiched in the middle is the cinematic, nearly sci-fi exploration of “Channel,” as well as the buzzing darkwave of “Reanimate.” “The Concept” might be the best track included, pairing ’80s New Wave synth with dreamy—well, nightmare-ish vocals amid an addictive melody.

The final pair of tracks don't stray too far from Ekko's formula, and include the pulsating, droning and noisy “Your Shadow,” and the strategic repetition of the seething “Ekko Reflektor.”

This is Ekko's sophomore album, and he wrote, performed and produced the entire affair. Similarities to legends like Joy Division, David Bowie, Bauhaus and Velvet Underground won't be hard to spot, which is a large part of the allure. Heavily textured and very much focused on tone and mood, Mystique unfolds like the soundtrack to something rather sinister, and the electronic manipulation and doom-like presence is yet another reason to explore further.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2022 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hifi Mantra Records, and is used for informational purposes only.