Various Artists – Echocord – 20 years

A proper celebration

It was the first thing I did when I sat down to write about this album. When Echocord looks back at 20 years as one of electronic music’s most distinguished labels I looked back at Echocord’s impact on how I appreciate music. True to how we do things in the digital age I checked just how many Echocord releases have entered my collection.

It turned out that I am celebrating my own little 20th – prior to this album I chose to buy Echocord releases twenty times. What’s really peculiar about these 20 is that they have been created by 18 different artists, only two names entered the collection twice (Idealist and Mathimidori). It says a lot about the breadth of talent that is featured on Echocord, at a consistently high level of quality.

How are they able to do that? Like every really good label does it – put quality over quantity. In none of these 20 years, they have had more than a dozen releases. And if you ask some of their artists they will tell you that they really worked hard to become an Echocord artists, sometimes trying over and over for years.

Naturally, that’s not necessarily the same for every artist on the roster. My oldest Echocord release is Rod Modell’s 2004 “Sacred Geometry EP” (still my favorite one) – I have no doubt that label founder Kenneth Christiansen didn’t have to be convinced to add Modell’s name to the list of Echocord artists.

But that’s one of a few exceptions to the rule. Echocord builds talent. The label started out with only one artist on board – Mikkel Metal. Among the first eleven releases his name pops up eight times, which tells you a lot about the close relationship between Mikkel and Kenneth and about how much the founder likes what Mikkel Meldgaard brings to the label.

Naturally, he is among the twelve artists that have contributed to this compilation. Looking at how important Mikkel Metal was for the foundation of Echocord it is almost a surprise that he is only featured once. But even a fat triple album package has its limitations, and the list of artists that would have loved to be featured on this album will have been as long as the admiration for the label is high.

Meldgaard’s contribution to this compilation, is – just like most of his releases on Echocord – a bit of an outlier. He’s a guitarist, and when his musical path entered the world of electronic music, he took his guitar along. On “Lakma” he creates a slightly apprehensive atmosphere by sending his guitar licks towards the echo space and adding a simple but effective single note bass line.

Other Echocord regulars drop by as well, of course. Like Fluxion who has sent a good dozen EPs and albums to Copenhagen. He’s a busy man, having just released his excellent “Parallel Moves” long player, and “Slide” is just as elegant and emotional as most of what we enjoyed on that album. Quantec had to be part of the ride as well – Sven Schienhammer seems quite selective about what he wants to release, and if he does put something out, Echocord is one of his favorite places. “Space Time Continuum” is just what you’d expect from him – a super deep and relaxed Dub Techno groover, slow and warm and classy.

Idealist is an obvious contributor, just like Resoe and Brendon Moeller are – all of them return visitors to the label. All three of them are honoring Echocord with tracks that are up to the occasion. Idealist and Resoe showing their more banging side, Moeller his dubby one with a bottomless bass.

Grad_u drops by, and the Hess brothers, giving us exactly what we could have hoped for – an endless Lithuanian groover and a no-nonsense instant Detroit classic. Mathias Kaden a.k.a. Mathimidori delivers yet another example of how to progress from Minimal to Dub Techno, Deadbeat and Babe Roots / Another Channel let things swing all the way to the Dub side, and Forest Drive West break up the beats on top of chilled deepness, completing the magnificent dozen that delivers the music for the birthday bash.

You will agree that this is a pretty illustrious list of felicitators, and yet I wonder how hard it was to select the participants. The list of possible additional guests is just as elite: Rod Modell, Sven Weisemann, Vladislav Delay, Fenin, Arovane, Anders Ilar and El Choop could have easily turned this into a six pice vinyl box.

My guess is that I am by far not the only guy who will happily admit that Echocord played a big role in discovering the Dub side of Techno. In my case it started with echocord09. “Sacred Geometry” is still on my various mobile devices and probably never left my DJ bag. This is probably what will happen with this album as well. Twelve superb tracks by twelve great artists, true Echocord greatness.

Release for Review:

Buy this album on Bandcamp: Click
If the vinyl is sold out, get it on Discogs: Click

Leave a Reply