Monday, December 13, 2010
Lord Echo is an alias for Mike Fabulous of the Black Seeds/ Fly My Pretties. He's just released his debut album, Melodies. It's an absolutely gorgeous collection of soul reggae and afro disco tunes, right in time for summer.
A few of the numbers have been floating around for a while, like Wang east and Cosmic echoes, both of which appeared on Mike's debut 7" single in late 2008 or Rhythm 77 from the excellent Ricketts Meets Fabulous at Maitland Rd EP of earlier this year. It sounds as though some of these have been reworked for the album - the single version of Wang east was instrumental, and here we have a refreshed version with vocal added, courtesy of Mr Toby Laing of Fat Freddys Drop.
Melodies is a great blend of tunes that drift off into dubbed-out summertime vibes, or head over to Africa for some gritty afrofunk. Other guests include Will Ricketts (Phoenix Foundation) and Lisa Tomlins, who helps close the album with a magnificent reggaefied take on Sister Sledge's Thinking of You (listen below for an excerpt). I really need this tune on vinyl. It's an absolute stonker.
Some background... Mike Fabulous started releasing solo tunes in the early 2000s, on various compilations like Loop Select 002. He's one of the founding members of Wellington reggae band the Black Seeds, who have released about half a dozen albums to date over their 10 year existence. Mike also produced their latest studio album, Solid Ground, which gained release in the US on Easystar Records. They also did an extensive US tour to support its release.
The Black Seeds have become a regular feature on the European festival circuit over the last 5 years, making steady inroads into Europe/UK markets. Bret McKenzie was also in the Black Seeds, before his other band, Flight of the Conchords, got busy with some tv show.
Listen to the previews below, or full album preview over at Amplifier.co.nz, buy MP3s or CD from there too. And Lord Echo on Bandcamp
Out now on Economy Records - who are so budget, they don't even have a website listed on the back of the CD. Or contact details. That's seriously low key.
Also just out on Economy Records - Self titled album by Shogun Orchestra, a fascinating mix of afro funk, carribean grooves and Ethio-jazz, led by Lucien Johnson, and featuring members of Fat Freddys Drop and The Black Seeds. Delightfully exotic. Check Shogun Orch on Bandcamp for audio previews. Album out now on CD/digital, coming on vinyl.
PLUS: Mike Fabulous interview from Niceup, around the time that Wang East came out on 7, in 2008. Above image from Niceup.
ADDED: Japanese label Wonderful Noise is releasing an album sampler on 12" vinyl, out mid-late 2011 (incls Thinking Of You). Bastard Jazz are releasing a vinyl 7/digital release of two new tunes from Lord Echo, out Nov 7, 2011.
ADDED (Jan 2012): Wonderful Noise will be releasing Lord Echo's album on double vinyl, more info at Conch Records. Read some background on the folk behind Japanese label Wonderful Noise and the NZ artists they are working with. Article from NZ Herald.
Mike Fabulous also released a collaboration with local indie pop musician Lawrence Arabia last year, as Fabulous/Arabia. The album is called Unlimited Buffet. Out now on CD/digital, and coming soon on vinyl. Download a free track from Bandcamp.
ADDED Aug 7 2012: Bastard Jazz presents Lord Echo, Mobius Collective, Greenwood Rhythm Coalition playing live at Studio BPM, 237 Kent in Brooklyn. Sat. August 18. 10pm start, $10 suggested.
ADDED Sept 2 2012: 7"single from Lord Echo out soon on German label; Jakarta Records - Thinking of you edit/Rhythm 777 feat Jennifer Zea. Preview the latter tune on a free sampler from Jakarta Records over here.
ADDED November 2012 interview with Lord Echo, from Lumiere Reader
ADDED Oct 16, 2013, from Bastard Jazz: " The mighty New Zealander known as LORD ECHO will be releasing his second album Curiosities on Bastard Jazz in early November, Expect boogie-laced Funk, disco-primed Dub, futuristic Soul, and timeless African rhythms from this cult favourite.
Watch out for the first single - "Molten Lava / Digital Haircut" dropping digitally October 28th - Tune into Gilles Peterson's latest show on BBC Radio 6 for a taste"
Free download of Digital Haircut at XLR8R
Out Nov 15 on Economy Records (home to The Yoots, Shogun Orchestra), NZ release thru Rhythm Method/DRM on CD/digital/vinyl. The album is being released on Wonderful Noise in Japan, Bastard Jazz in the US, UK and Australia, and Jakarta in Europe and South America.