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Echoic Memory – Animal Shadows

by François Zappa

I usually have a hard time when I have to write a review: I find it quite difficult to work for the first time on a new album or an artist I don’t know. But this time, I did not have any problem with the first EP of the German artist Echoic Memory, maybe because I found sounds and atmospheres that I really like and it was easy to let myself be carried away by the six magnificent songs contained in this EP that can be heard and bought here.

Animal Shadows is the first solo work by Johanna Marie Bodeux, photographer, DJ (using the name of Marie Germinal) and also member of the wave rock duo Germinal (with a discography that includes the album Blending from 2011 and the EP Self Exit). Six songs that, according to Johanna Marie, interpret the soft absurdity of existence and their parallel worlds of dreams and poetry. Musically wise, the sound is reminiscent of pioneers’ music like The Normal or Fad Gadget or even of the electroclash movement of some twenty years ago. The songs can be qualified as minimal synth with a light influence of industrial, techno and acid, getting close to synth punk and with a very dreamy atmosphere in most of the case. 

The first track, “Echo” is one of the most powerful of the set and it managed to bring me back to the days of electroclash, although the raw sound also reminds me of the music of the first classic wave of synth pop. The song presents a really nice contrast between the sweetness of the voice and the cold sound of the synths, something that can be found in all the album. Next is “Violence,” with a heavy rhythm, a very warm singing and a beautiful melody that makes us dream of other worlds outside of the walls of our houses. We continue with another heavy rhythm in “Amber Room” but this time the voice is more sensual and dreamy. “Mass Fraction,” the longest track of the EP, has an industrial and acid taste. It’s a five-and-a-half-minute instrumental track, really hypnotic that together with “Echo,” is for us, one of the best moments of the album. “Sundial” is instead the shortest of the EP, but still it’s full of details and surprises. Animal Shadows finishes with the disturbing sounds of “Brain in Body,” where an incredibly catchy melody floats in an ocean of wild synths. 

Animal Shadows is a very varied EP, with a production that I have specially enjoyed, and at last threes songs that I consider outstanding. I am waiting anxiously for a full album.

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