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EchoTest - Daughter of Ocean CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 14 ratings

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars In the earliest part of 2019, the Eclectic Prog band Echotest from Philadelphia released it's 3rd album "Daughter of Ocean". Echotest was founded in 2014 by Julie Slick, who was the bassist for the "Adrian Belew Power Trio". The regular band is made up of Slick on bass and electronics, Marco Machera also on bass but also electronics and vocals, Jennifer Founds on vocals and Alessandro Inolti on drums. Other guests appear on various tracks on this album. The album is made up of 10 tracks and has a total run time of 57 minutes. The sound is very unique and not always what you expect, leaning to a more avant- prog sound many times through the album. Sometimes the sound is very beautiful and other times a bit unsettling, but it is always quite unique.

The title track "Daughter of Ocean" starts off the album with a dramatic and atmospheric track. With plenty of musical tone provided by guitars and bass and a lot of nice sounds and effects from the electronics, this mostly percussion-less track flows along nicely. Further into the track, there are some whispered vocals deep in the mix. The track is a nice experimental feel with plenty of momentum to keep it going until the rhythm finally kicks in after 6 minutes. The drums churn out a trippy beat that is anything but standard. "Tiger Races" starts with chime-like keys and a subdued percussive sound. Vocals start by Marco and Jennifer early on with a monotone harmony, but it becomes melodic with a nice theme later, all the while being supported by an almost minimalist background. This all builds nicely later with strings, guitar and layered harmonies. Then drums come in, but the theme remains somewhat restrained. Ian Gray provides trombone on several of the tracks on the album which he also does here, adding another layer to this very interesting track. Very original and nice with a avant-garde slant.

"Nokku" is a bit heavier, with a tricky rhythm provided by the drums and loops along with live playing combine to make for a slightly odd, yet interesting melody. Later, layered and harmonized vocals come in, but I believe they are wordless. "Sleep" begins mysteriously with a pounding percussion, then an acoustic guitar pattern which is later joined by airy and soft vocals. Soon, another vocal line joins with a lot of atmospheric echoes giving everything a psychedelic and dreamy feeling. The guitar drones out a warbly sound and more dreamy, layered vocals follow. "Ladies Legs at the Temperature Hotel" has a more standard beat from the beginning, but supports a melody that is slightly more accessible, but still has that artsy sound to it that throws things into a swirling and lush feel. As the track moves on, it becomes more atypical. The layering of the vocals makes this track feel like a larger chorus of singers is present.

"Terror" begins with a soft march rhythm and a heavy bass line which is joined by a more upfront vocal. The trombone is added to the soft wall of sound giving things a nice expansive feel. As it goes on, effects are added to the vocals which are again layered, but singing different counter melodies. "Dull Eyes/Light Head" uses heavy electronic manipulation to combine some crazy effects against a distinct bass line. A lush wall of sound is built up which includes some odd indiscernible vocals and all of this is mixed together in a swirling conglomeration, which is constantly changing in thickness and strangeness. This is definitely a psychedelic and experimental collage of effects and textures which is still quite musical at its core.

"Cracked Taxis" is heavier with both basses playing together against a steady beat which builds in intensity as it goes forming another wall of sound, but this get interrupted soon as the music forms around a repeating riff. This all falls apart as the track suddenly goes minimal, but slowly builds back again, but more melodically this time. Psychedelic vocals echo into existence, but suddenly become more discernable later with harmonized layers. Later, a single percussive noise brings us into the last track "No, You're Dead/The Gate of Light". The percussion continues and a jangly guitar plays along. Subdued vocals are in the background as the drums intensify everything slowly and the guitar starts sounding like a scratching noise. Everything builds upon the repetition that becomes more and more intense against a steady rhythm. Layers of noise keep getting added and then breaks down after 4 minutes as unsettling effects come in and then things calm again. Things go mimimal for a while with percussion, a far off eerie vocal and bass and effects stay soft against a somewhat heavy percussion. This is very experimental and atmospheric, unsettling and strange, but definitely psychedelic and odd. At times, it seems that a regular melodic section is going to materialize, but every attempt for that to happen ends up getting swallowed up in the layers of sound.

This is definitely a unique album, very experimental in places, lush in others, unique all the way through. Just as you think you have the sound pinned down, you realize that you don't. It is very avant-garde sounding at several times through the album. I really like this album, and can tell that it is one that will really grow on me. Even so, I am enticed to listen to this one many times as I find it quite unique and interesting. For now, it is undoubtedly a 4 star album, but that could easily change with repeated listenings. This is definitely one for those who like their prog on the eclectic and experimental side, with a bit of psychedelia sprinkled in liberally in different sections.

TCat | 4/5 |


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