Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
For the past decade, Guelph, Ont., producer Andrew McPherson has spearheaded the band Eccodek. Over three albums, the band of Indiaphiles and beat slaves has appropriated global sounds and torqued them for discerning clubbers Bill Laswell-style. The band is well known in the Canadian electronica scene, but a secret to the masses. It feels like a stretch when you find out that these melting-pot mixes come straight outta Royal City.
That’s where McPherson lives and runs his recording studio called Monastereo. He studied classical music at Western University and learned his way with knobs and boards at Fanshawe College.
His technical proficiency and penchant for grooves has led to some fine tracks that hybridize dub with sonic styles of the subcontinent. McPherson was curious what other people thought of it. So he put a call out to a coterie of cool remixers and producers and asked them to have a stab at tracks from Eccodek’s first three albums: More Africa in Us, Voices Have Eyes, and Shivaboom.
Jef Stott, Dubmatix and EarthRise Soundsystem, from the Six Degrees label, answered the call. As did Syrian and Adham Shaik (from Peter Gabriel’s Real World label), Delhi 2 Dublin’s Tarun Nayar and hometown boy Rise Ashen.
The 14 tweaked tunes comprise Eccodek’s fourth release called Remixtasy, a name that capitalizes on the fantastical feel of the album.
Nayar re-does the track “Silent Song” — an Eccodek collaboration with world music album Juno winner Kiran Ahluwalia — adding a synth-heavy under layer to a pathos-rich tune. Beatsmith Nate Wize turns low key “Bodhichitta Dub” into a hip-hop and jazz meld.
When looking for remixers, McPherson said he was looking for that undefinable “bumpin’” quality to be reflected in each track.
“It’s a balance between putting out dancefloor fillers and providing an interesting musical take on what we do,” McPherson says.
He, along with the rest of his Eccodek bandmates, will re-create the studio-made remixes at a live show this week. They’re not standing behind laptops—they’re playing instruments.
“Until you hear it, people don’t always acknowledge that an electronic, organic band can play live music remixed by other people,” McPherson says, citing Saint Germain’s orchestra-style shows as a good example of this kind of gig.
Eccodek will play Ottawa this week in what’s expected to be a sweaty gig — up there with some of the better global groove shows at the Mercury Lounge from over the past decade. My personal favourites were the Badmarsh & Shri show in the ‘90s and Cheb i Sabbah’s 2006 show where he DJ’d in bare feet, smoked beedies behind the turntables, and showed his humour by throwing in commercial radio samples with world beat — and doing it in a way that was plausible.
Eccodek plays the Mercury Lounge, Thursday, April 19, 9 p.m., $10. www.mercurylounge.com