Specimen 13: Echosystem

A graphic artist, a guitar visionary and guests galore.

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Drummer Denis Rodier is also a comic illustrator who has worked for Marvel and DC Comics, while Martin Vanier was the guitar player for avant-garde group Talisma. This mini-album is the first fruit of the Quebec duo’s multimedia project (a full album, web TV and graphic novel are in the pipeline).

Echosystem features contributions from some major prog talent including King Crimson’s Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto and Tony Levin. As you might expect then, the music here is heavy and heady (the word ‘soundscapes’ is sprinkled throughout the credits).

These five moody instrumentals evoke everything from King Crimson to the industrial experiments of Bowie’s Outside era, all finished with the latter-day laptop gloss of a Tool or Porcupine Tree. Sheer Force, Icarus and Juggernaut comprise big beats, crunchy bass, unsettling tonalities and eerie breakdowns. Frippish guitar and synth lines transect the ambient vortex of Torngat like crossfire, and if you really want the neighbours to move out then just crank up 10-minute mind-frig Citoyen Robot.

It all makes for an exhilarating, discomfiting listen, one well worth sampling.