Monday, October 26, 2015

Kurt Maloo-Soul & Echo (1995)


A late-night music chill-out session became an early-morning music chill-out session once I got newly acquainted with the Swiss singer, songwriter and producer Kurt Maloo on his second solo effort, "Soul & Echo". A well-chosen title for the wonderful collection on of tunes that my ears have received here—the 'soul' being not only his tender, intimate vocals, but also the vocals of any of the sultry female background vocalists, which represent the 'echo'. I totally had that yeah-I'm-gonna-love-listening-to-this-guy feeling the moment the swirly electronic ambiance and the cool double voice effect of Kurt singing alongside a digitally disguised version of himself were presented to me on the opener, "Young King". Funny how I should write the word 'double', because it was surely double my pleasure hearing Kurt's smooth jazz remake of a memorable favorite of mine: DOUBLE's "The Captain Of Her Heart". Talk about a song that takes me back! 1985—that was a great year in my childhood (well, all of my elementary school years were great!), and I felt like I was reliving every moment of those years while the familiar melody and those unmistakable lyrics filled my ears. A perfect selection for this Swiss singer! Doubled my pleasure again with "Man In Love"—the dreamy, atmospheric ambiance and the gentle, almost hypnotic rap he does in a spoken word style when telling the story about the man who's got love on his mind. I'd noted that same hypnotic, spoken-word rap style a few minutes before on "Young King", and I noted it again on a trio of other selections as well: "You Echo Inside Of Me" (this one's got a lovely jazzy swing and a nicely chilled groove), the concluding cut "Remorse" (his earnest words of reconciliation and the dreamy, spacey ambiance make this one a real gem!) and, one that really relaxes and chills the body and soul, " The Baby's Sleepin' " (pretty slick on the production side of things with the surprising jazzy swing that steps in mid-beat a couple of times). Then that cool double voice element I'd experienced on "Young King"? It also adds some pizzazz on "Transformation" and "Diving For Your Pearls" (I like how the music on this one just breathes life into me; it felt like I was diving into ocean waters and searching for pearls myself basking in all of the relaxing electronic soundscapes, particularly the sounds of the shifting winds and the keyboard melodies). Possibly the most beautiful 'jealousy' song I have ever heard is the one performed by this Swiss singer on this album's sixth track. I like the conversational presentation, highlighted by the voice of a woman on a telephone speaking in what I believe is German while Kurt's grasping for that different something that's in the air and trying to wreak havoc on their relationship. Then possibly the most warming song about 'darkness' I have ever heard is this album's eighth track, "Afraid Of The Darkness". But nothing to be afraid of here nor any place else; I'm confident that you'll find these easy-listening selections frightening good!

1. Young King
2. The Captain Of Her Heart
3. Man In Love
4. You Echo Inside Of Me
5. Transformation
6. Jealousy
7. Diving For Your Pearls
8. Afraid of The Darkness
9. Reality
10. The Baby's Sleepin'
11. Remorse

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