With every man and his dog seemingly capable of dabbling in electronica (assuming said dog has access to a computer), there is a lot of competition in this genre. It is even more difficult to make a thoroughly satisfying album but DJ/broadcaster/musician Harmi Palda came very close with 2009’s ‘Ad Infinitum’. ‘Ekko Location’ aims to repeat the feat of making machines sound human again and eventually succeeds.
Far from front loading the album, Palda takes a significant amount of time to get going. ‘Out Of The Blue’ kicks off in familiar fashion; the deep techno rumble surrounded by an aura of discarded computers playing out old school electronica in an abandoned open plan office. Yet, the first three tracks seem to be doing little more than laying a foundation for clever background music.
Four tracks in, ‘Live Feed’ picks up the urgency as a distant piano melody is joined by barely audible radio dialogue and evil synth lines and beats. ‘Somehwere Inside’ takes the experience to new levels of subtlety as if the machines are winding down for the last time; the effect is nocturnal and lonely, whilst the macabre, stately ‘Witness’ would make an ideal soundtrack for a modern spy thriller. ‘In Your Mind’ even offers vocals which lend a chill to the Avrocar-like ambience. Most impressive of all, though, is ‘When Power Runs Dry’, as elegant layers of frozen melody and glitchy beats combine to draw on deep wells of melancholia.
Once it finally gets in to its flow, ‘Ekko Location’ proves that it has the ability to haunt the listener’s thoughts. Admittedly, there’s nothing particularly new about this music but it has a class and intelligence which Palda’s contemporaries struggle to maintain.
Line Noise, David Newlyn, Avrocar