2023 / Granda Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Echoes is the twelfth album from Spanish composer/ musician/ producer Jorge Granda and the fourth of his albums that I've reviewed over the past ten years. In addition to his albums, Granda has composed and produced about 40 soundtracks for independent cinema and visual media, earning a number of prestigious awards along the way. He has also appeared as a guest artist on many albums including Hugo Selles' recent release, Cyclical, where he plays acoustic guitar and electric sitar. Several of Granda's albums that I've heard have been orchestrated, but on Echoes, electric guitars are usually in the lead with a variety of instruments (all played by Granda) backing him. The seven tracks are quite varied, but the album plays as a very cohesive whole.
Echoes was recorded in September and October 2022 in the sound laboratory of LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial a.k.a LABoral (Gijón, Asturias, Spain), an artistic research space that Granda set up with his own technical equipment - guitars, mics, amplifiers, stompboxes, keyboards, etc. - as part of the II Call for Artist Residencies 2022, an annual convocation for which he was selected to develop his project. As part of the project, Granda also created a documentary film about the process of making the album. (The documentary is available on YouTube, but is in Spanish, so I wasn't able to understand much of what Grande said.)
Echoes begins with "Pictures," a piece that starts out simply with a very mysterious feeling. After that brief intro, a driving beat kicks in that sends the piece soaring. Electric guitars, synth washes, and wordless female vocals work to create an incredible opener that is more prog rock than ambient - love it! "Time" is much quieter with the electric guitar carrying the lead with atmospheric synth washes behind it. The melody is very simple, but the layered sounds create visual images in my mind. "Disruption" brings us back to a more prog rock style as electric guitar tells a story backed with a strong rhythm from bass guitar and percussion. The closing section of the piece is much more ambient and atmospheric, gradually fading out. "Lisboa" refers to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Joyful and upbeat, it's not easy to sit still while listening to this one! "South"reminds me of images in films of flying over vast open areas. The "twangy" guitar lead, bass guitar and drums create an infectious and compelling soundtrack that can take you wherever you want to go. I really like this one, too! "Skills" brings an organ into the mix along with electric guitars, bass guitar, and a driving bass and percussion beat. Vibrant and intense (in a good way!), it's a happy toe-tapper! Echoes closes with "Waves," a peaceful ambient track with the soothing sound of ocean waves in the background. After the driving rhythms of some of the previous tracks, this one goes in an entirely different direction with sparkling keyboards as well as electric guitar painting an aural picture of beauty and tranquility.
Jorge Granda has created a fascinating album with Echoes, and one that should appeal to a broad range of musical tastes. It is available digitally from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. A limited number of signed and number CDs are available from Soundcloud. Check it out!
May 7, 2023