Eccodek | Singing in Tongues | New Music Review

Article Contributed by John Mosley | Published on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Never has an LP’s title been more apt—Eccodek’s sixth and latest, Singing in Tongues, is foreign to the letter. (And no, I couldn’t tell you what tongues we’re talking here.)

But that’s precisely the point—the source material for Singing, originally pressed as a loose improvisation by Jah Youssouf of Mali, has since garnered treatment by Canadian fusers Eccodek that borders on reverence in presenting the African musician to a world audience—the dub-and-bass collective’s leader, Andrew McPherson, treats Youssouf’s voice as a delicate treasure, shielding it from misuse while allowing his words to rise above the throng of drums and Moog riffs for brief moments of holy clarity. This is a clear, level-headed sonic construct, and Eccodek rarely forces any one sample to the forefront unnecessarily—what’s lost in translation is unimportant; what remains is all that matters.

There’s no reason to pull individual tracks on this record—Singing in Tongues should be heard as one sound, a solitary journey from start to finish. This is an hour of beautifully simple tribal dubs, led by Youssouf’s musings, sparsely populated with humble electronics and archival sounds as needed, and nothing more. These songs have ventured to the vast beyond of outer space, and now we get to listen while a shaman drunk on ritual wine tells the story in his native tongue. This is meditation music for an electric audience, and while it might not move mountains, it’ll certainly clear your head for a spell.