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Electronic Panorama Orchestra

August Engkilde Presents EPO
Electronic Panorama Orchestra

The last time I heard from August Engkilde, he was playing upright bass on a track for Pole on his 45/45 EP. Only in his mid-30s Engkilde has already contributed to almost 30 different releases playing various instruments and has not only worked with Pole, but Flanger, Senor Coconut, and many others. On this newest project, he's basically assembled a batch of musicians and laid down a release that combines a jazz, cuban music, dub, and washes it all in a wave of subtle electronic production.

Recorded in parts in both Denmark and Cuba, this is far from Buena Vista Social Club, but perhaps a few parallels can be drawn. The release opens with "Little Mary and Old George" and it kicks things off perfectly with a woozy introduction before drifting through a middle section that pops with upright bass and touches of electronics before closing out with a flourish of horns. Front and center in the track are the lovely vocals of singer Frida Asmussen, who contributes to just about every song on the release. Although she plays a large part in the album, her vocals are never overbearing, and aren't crammed into every space on the release.

"Talk To Odua" is one of several tracks on the release that simply exhale slowly. Shuffling along with guitars and melodica, the track slowly congeals into a warm, slightly dubby number that takes things down another notch yet. The dubby "Continental Travelling" is a mixture of sputtering beats, soaring horns, and piano riffs that roll the track along for almost 7 minutes. Although not all of their sound experiments work, though, and it seems to be when they're reaching for something more obvious that they stumble the most. The woozy lap steel and awkward vocals on "The Marriage Of Hat & Boots" makes the track sound like a western experiment gone bad while "The Bird And The Guitar" is basically what the title states (along with some minimal percussion) and sounds more cheeseball than anything. If you enjoy Bebel Gilberto, you'll probably find things to enjoy here.

Rating: 6.25