Illinois based soundcarver Chris Russell debuted on Spotted Peccary Music's roster with applauded collaborative CD album Vague Traces in 2014, where he teamed with Phillip Wilkerson. Active since 2009 with around 14 albums, almost all digital, both solo and collabs were released on various labels like relaxedMachinery, earthMantra, Kalindi Music, aatma, Exosphere and his VoidMusic imprint. Chris Russell's solo debut for Spotted Peccary came in March 2017, but his Labyrinth album was released in digital formats only. It was followed by Echo in August 2018. The album, featuring an attractive design by Daniel Pipitone, comes in a 4-panel eco wallet. The mastering credit goes to Ben Cox of the Lotuspike gang.

The shorter title piece "Echo", clocking at only 3 minutes, starts quite unexpectedly for Spotted Peccary when the listener straightly dives into unfathomably transcendental depths, and where humming drone zones collide with ear-bending industrial outbursts. As much immersing as pungent, engulfing intro indeed!!! 6-minute "Radium" keeps its abundantly experimental feel with more cacophonous, sharply glittering sonic escapades. But around the middle, the track transmogrifies through scintillating bell titillations into slightly calmer buzzing traces. "Orix" definitely settles down the scenario, when Chris Russell masterly incorporates into his gracefully gliding and spiraling stratums glimpses of poignantly meandering introspection. Beauty! "Varuna" exhibits with its organically fragranced piquancy juxtaposed by contemplatively enveloping quietudes. Intriguingly reverberating mindscapes are occasionally illuminated by subdued reflections. An epic ride!!! Rather briefer "Nilium" safely keeps on drifting through powerfully spellbinding realms, where exquisitely sculpted harshness encounters celestially expansive meridians. The oracularly monumental opus fully unfolds all its magic!!! Ephemeral, yet the more intensifying. Bravo, Chris!!! 11-minutes long "Sparse" finds its way into relatively calmer terrains with mildly galloping and mesmerizingly enveloping tapestries. "Odjek" delves ultra deeply into hypogeally venturesome sci-fi labs. Wow, what an odyssey!!! "Transverter" bridges serenely longing helixes with glancing subterranean perplexes and intangible cyber-tech beams. "Abandoned" at 13:20, the longest composition, closes this thrillingly rewarding album with evocatively billowing and sinuously nuanced layers coalesced with balmy biotic and eerily rumbling reminiscences. Along the way, warmly ethereal horizons inconspicuously sneak in. A magnificent ending!

61-minute Echo is an all-intensive journey filled with a rich palette of awe-inspiring insignias. It really left me breathless and I won't hesitate to describe Echo as Chris Russell's magnum opus. As much thrillingly transporting as dissonantly challenging, undoubtedly a superb album by a very gifted kindred spirit!!! Hats off to you, Chris, you have left with Echo a strongly significant and distinguishably stalwart earmark in the Spotted Peccary catalog. Keep on creating and expanding your sonic visions!!!

Reviewed by Richard Gürtler (Aug 30, 2019, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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