Ecco2k finally released E, a solo album for YEAR0001 he’s been teasing since 2014 and that’s raising the bar of this end-of-year underground music panorama. Nothing unexpected if one glances at the phenomenon the Swedish scene has been building up in the last couple of years up, light years ahead of the average we’re used to. Yung Lean, Bladee, Drain Gang (that includes Thaiboy Digital, Whitearmor, Yung Sherman and Ecco himself) are indeed revolutionising the genre of cloud/mumble/emo rap as we know it, opening up to different influences from other artists and realities.
Also, his own personal growth – from taking a backseat in music contributions and working mostly as a graphic designer – rises clear. The previous works, in spite of being undoubtedly worthy, seemed a lot derivative from Bladee’s influence or his surroundings. What we’re dealing with right now is definitely exclusive, a poetic declaration of an extraordinary artist.
The trap-oriented style he kept until Trash Island slightly changes direction in e: the beats appear a bit noisier, sometimes approaching ambient dimensions thickened by a perfectly fitting alienating effect coming from the synths (even though some legit trap tendencies still appear, such as in “Cc”).
His half baby half androgynous voice forms the most suitable lyric layer to such effect, conveying an even more otherworldly spirit throughout the tenderly nostalgic/contemporary themes he faces. In this respect, “AAA Powerline” and “Peroxide” as openers function as an ideal mood setter since they already contain everything the album is going to develop song by song: never-ending circular dreamy lyrics, pulsing vibes and melancholy.
The latter in particular dramatically emerges in “Blue Eyes”, whose agonising pace is built on multiple climaxes. The production is majestic, it indeed features big names such as Shanti (none other than Yves Tumor) for “Fruit Bleed Juice”, the lead single, and Mechatok for “Security!”, whose beat is basically an ad infinitum sampling of Year 12’s crescendo. Whitearmor, main producer of previous releases by Drain Gang, worked on “Calcium”. The credits for the rest of E directly go to Gud, another incredible revelation of this album that marks for him the beginning of long dense works of production.
E is ultimately an outstanding album, substantial both in quality and quantity, consistent with itself and with Ecco’s path so far.