Ekcle: Deshoda

Posted on Posted in Music, Review

After supplying a series of free downloads to the Inspector Dubplate platform over the past year, the UK-based duo Ekcle are back with their first full release, out now on Inspected Records.

Deshoda is a four track EP that echoes quality from top to bottom. Each track guides the listener on an unpredictable, intriguing journey through experimental and beautiful soundscapes. Exploring various different genres and styles to form an ultimately rewarding, inspirational, listening experience.

Review

A Giant Carries The City wastes no time in demonstrating its brilliance. A barren, subdued opening 15 seconds or so sparks the initial suspense before multiple sounds arrive within the blink of an eye. Suddenly, you’re thrust into this huge noisy world of sound, but it’s noisy in a positive way. There are so many things going on here it could be easy to get lost, but there is a sense of peace, and of happiness, that resides somewhere amongst the various aspects that create this unique soundscape. The percussive sounds are like waves constantly crashing in and out against the rest of the track. Enveloping strings swoop in and take the main focus intermittently like the clouds of this unknown world. The name, A Giant Carries The City, feels suitable due to the constant feeling of something larger going on than what you can initially comprehend.

The Impulsive State is quite deceiving. The introduction and first main section consist of eerie, otherworldly sounds combined with neuroesque drums and dark mid-bass growls. The first two minutes feel like the soundtrack to some kind of massive war between machines, a stark contrast to the opening track, however, everything gets flipped on its head when the guys from Ekcle demonstrate their creativity and talent to transform the track completely. The ambience and the complete sense of joy return, alongside various new percussive sounds and interesting vocal samples as what previously felt like a war between machines, evolves into an ethereal celebration for the victors. The sounds in this track are always evolving to form a new mood or direction. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of automation that goes into a project like this.

Considering that I described A Giant Carries The City as a world of sound, Serené Mont Garde is something else entirely. A journey through the heavens, whether you believe in them or not, you’ll visit them temporarily listening to this one. The glistening opening sounds remind me of looking up at the stars in the night sky before yet more incredible percussion arrives to set the fast-paced tempo and elevate the emotive pads. An angelic, heartbreaking vocal teases to enter the mix about a minute in only to be swiftly removed, replaced by other clever vocal samples, before returning after a mellow breakdown around 2 minutes 30. This is my favourite moment of the entire EP, I can’t recall hearing anything as pleasing to the ear as this section of the song for a long time. A warm, consistent bass provides the much-needed warmth throughout this otherwise cold, yet extremely emotive track.

The bar has been set so high already, but it remains at those heights throughout Sakoya. Opening with the moreish pads and vocal samples before breaking into a lighthearted and playful synthesised melody combined with more impressive drums that carve a bouncy, intricate rhythm for the first half of the track. Sakoya effortlessly evolves from a fairly minimal, electronic soundscape into a much more live, jazz orientated style that reminds me of Bonobo; with the use of live drums and beautiful staccato lead sounds. Ekcle’s ability to keep surprising the listener with twists and turns are not only an important component of their signature sound but also what transforms this EP into something so commendable.

Listening to the forward-thinking Deshoda requires an open mind due to its position between genres, however, it is by no means a negative thing. The abundance of creativity, imagination and heart pumped into this project is mind-blowing. The production quality is up there with the best but Deshoda really excels when you look past that and let yourself really explore each one of the four magical worlds. Every time you listen back through the tracks you’ll discover something new, although, from the first listen, Ekcle’s imagination and talent will be evidently clear.

I caught up with Harvey, one-half of Ekcle, for a quick chat about Deshoda and where the duo is heading next.

Firstly, could you tell people who might not know, how did you meet each other?
We both met at University about 3-4 years ago, we each had our own projects and Monikers we released music under, genres like DnB, House, Neurohop, Ambient etc and we always admired each other’s work ethic towards the art, and that’s kinda how we clicked as friends too.
When did you start working together as Ekcle?
We started the Ekcle project at around May 2016 (I believe) when both I and Jack decided that we wanted to make different music. So we met up in Bristol and voila.
How did the name (Ekcle) come about and does it stand for, or mean anything?
The thing is about the name is it is a completely made up word! We wanted something unheard of to represent our music, plus it’s the sort of word that we could relate to how some elements in our music sound.
Do you always meet up to collaborate or are some tracks finished over the internet and how does that process usually work out?
Generally speaking, we try to meet up as often as we need to finish songs and the projects, we use Splice which allows us to make edits and work on the same projects remotely from each studio.
You’ve featured on Inspector Dubplate’s channel fairly consistently over the last year, how did that link materialise and has it helped you gauge people’s thoughts about your collaborative projects and spur you on to continue?
We can’t thank the Inspector himself enough for the help he’s given us, we always wanted to aim for Inspector Dubplate as we feel it is where our music would resonate with the listeners there, Inspector Dubplate + Inspected Records have always been a goal for us.
Moving on to your debut EP, Deshoda, what was your inspiration for the project? (and as a duo, or individually, who are some of the musician’s that inspire your material?)
Jeez.. this could be a long answer! We both listen to so much music (sometimes more than making it) that we can’t actually narrow down certain songs to songs of ours for inspiration because Deshoda is literally a bit of everything in there. If we cited certain artists that we regularly listen to it would probably be Koan Sound, Culprate, Sorrow, Stumbleine, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Hans Zimmer, Flying Lotus, bsd.u… there’s so many!
Deshoda features a variety of different styles, even within each track. It’s one of the most interesting, and unique, EPs I’ve heard in a while. Is this mixture of styles and genres something that you were aiming for or did you just let the idea’s flow and see what would happen?
Each one of our songs progresses from just going with the flow, which we think is important. More often than not we will come up with an idea for a song and attempt to get it down but notice that it sounds like another song we have heard before, probably because it is plus we don’t believe our brains can randomly generate ideas like that. So, what we try to do is go as far away from that idea as we possibly can until we have the opposite of what we wanted, and then we go from there and whatever happens, happens.
Deshoda consists of four incredible journeys through sound. Each track feels like a short story. They’re all very cinematic and every time you think you know where you’re going as a listener there is another switch up. How do you manage to balance the different styles yet maintain a very distinct, recognisable sound throughout?
Thank you! See the thing is we don’t necessarily think we have the most recognisable sound, however, we have elements that we carry across each song and re-use. The idea of each one of our songs was described by Ryan at Inspected as “Each song having their own Universes” which I guess describes it well, reminded me of No Mans Sky!
Will people be able to come and catch Ekcle playing live anytime soon? (If so, when and where?)
We are sure as hell working on it. We have too many songs we want to show people, especially in a live environment.
What are your plans moving forward in terms of future Ekcle releases?
We stick to Plan A, which has always been: just make something interesting, and that’s with anything. The future of Ekcle is held by whatever creative output me and Jack feel is necessary to the project, even if that means pairing visuals with audio, yeah that would be super fun!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We love Deshoda and will be following you closely in the future!
No biggie, thanks for the feature!