In Echelon by Matt Robertson

Release date: October 7, 2016
Label: Tape Club Records

If the allure of hearing someone good enough at what they do to work with Bjork and Cinematic Orchestra doesn’t interest you then you’re in the wrong fucking part of town. If you’re a fan of those acts you’ll find a familiar comfort in the electro-orchestral womb that is In Echelon.

Upon first hearing the opening track Hold, I was surprised that Erased Tapes hadn’t managed to get their hands on this one it seems exactly the sort of thing they’d enjoy based on the incredible albums I reviewed for them over the past couple of years. The album immediately showcases a mastery of production with delicious drum beats and incredibly interesting synths taking the foreground. ‘Depot’ kind of alters this with sedately liquidated keys deservingly shifting the focus of the album. The track still showcases nicely crumpled drums and some engrossing pitch oscillations but, the main melody on the keys seems to pierce through the thick cataclysm of abrasion weaponising its delicacy to reduce the boisterous elements to a mere veil.

The title track moves the album into dancier territory with softer more polished sounds taking the foreground in a hazey groove-orientated change of pace that carries through into neighbouring tracks. Flight seems to break the mould collapsing the beat into the background of a rich canvas of textures, the soaring pads mixed with the relaxed melodics create a sense of ease and contentment like taking a familiar road to an old friend’s house. The track builds into an emotive cascade of strings that burst with a tragic alarm as it draws to a close, it seems so sudden and is a lot more powerful as result.

‘False Sense’ following ‘Flight’ is an incredible display of sequencing; it flows seamlessly but the tone and the track name all seem to meld together as a well-considered descent into more melancholy waters. The ambience pops and flitters like some other life form singing through a sonar pulse; the piano works in between as heavy-handed and down-trodden as everyday human life. It’s fucking incredible. The pinnacle of the album for me, it’s like a moment of clarity amidst a whirlwind of chaos and machines. The final fragility of the piano track is astonishing like any boldness in it is simply putting on a brave face like those pads were a chorus of tears.

‘Juno’ continues the focus on melancholic electronica and warm production. The ambience from ‘False Sense’ seem to find a coda in the track at least as timbres yet, what thankfully stands taller is the introspective element to the track that again gives a beautiful sense of surveying everything at once, trying to make sense of things, lost deep in the wells of thought and the introspection broods deeper and deeper as the album draws to a close in ‘Post-Script’.

In Echelon offers a broad array of moods and a consistent quality of production through the guise of neoclassical lullabies and sleepy chill-out electronica.

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