kay echo


Lurien Zittertkopf

April 11, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Quaint ambient ventures act as a light salve on this release, warming the atmosphere with carefree compositions

With montage, kay echo is choosing to be honest with herself. A newfound sense of drive always flourishes when situated around a refreshed spirit, and echo finds that through comfort in the knowledge that her existence and actions make up a minuscule part of the entire universe, that her actions and outlooks will nonetheless be pulled into nothingness long after she’s gone. In turn, montage is a slow and expansive album where kay echo often lets the music come to a standstill because she doesn’t need to always push it forward to pull the listener in. Modest and unobtrusive ambient movements meet guitar-led soundscapes without sacrificing any of the emotional weight behind echo’s intentions. By placing her restlessness into tranquil ambient pieces kay echo composes with so much heart, even when the instrumentation is as bare as an electric guitar and a few effect pedals. As montage flirts with shoegaze, new age, folk and drone, echo's commitment to open soundscapes and constant musical motion builds a world with immense power behind it even as it all seems to be drifting away from you.

Though the undercurrent of montage is mainly drone and ambient music, the ways in which echo goes about exploring these styles causes the effect of each song to vary. a rudimentary understanding of black holes is the only song to feature percussive accompaniment, a simple drum loop moving echo’s ambient synth pads and jangly guitar work forward, while the seven-minute discordant highlight thursday and cavernous guitar piece it really felt like i fell forever tackle kay echo’s mistrust of herself and deep anxieties through music that both embodies those emotions and soothes them through electronica. echo’s songcraft is intentionally listless in many places – the voice synth that floats atop it doesn’t feel like a friday for the entirety of 5:36 runtime, the slow lead guitar of dreamtide wraps around with lush pads and subtle layers. montage is never uninteresting to listen to, echo’s compositions are too passionately put together to ever lose their spark, even if tracks work as hypnotic refrains for the majority of their runtime. She’s willing to let the music just exist for a time and sit with the listener quietly, confident that her musicianship will let these modestly-arranged songs bloom into touching electronic pieces. 

kay echo’s music is calming, but she imbues montage with so many textures that it never feels overly minimalist. It is comforting but never too overwhelming. Even at its heaviest, montage is lovely to listen to, built on warmth and kay echo’s desire for positivity, anxiety quelled because she – as well as the rest of us – only has so much time left. At some point in the far future, everything will disappear into the same emptiness, but echo provides a worthwhile salve in this tender and heartfelt ambient release.