Evolution: The Best of Eko


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Evolution: The Best of Eko Review

by Jonathan Widran

Multi-instrumentalist John O'Connor has created one of new age-meets-worldbeat's most enduring legacies with EKO, a "group" as prone to silly titular puns (like Alter EKO) as brilliant swirls of pop, blues, reggae, and Celtic music. This collection, culled from EKO's four popular recordings, features 13 classics and three brand new tunes. Typical of O'Connor's essential style is the hypnotic, acoustic guitar-driven "Raindance," which features a bluesy organ undercurrent and balmy flamenco feel. "Loose Change" is a folksy acoustic piece which lopes along like a day in an old Western town, ever so slightly tinged with blues. "Celtica" is a festive, accordion-driven funk jig, while "Dublin to Delhi" explores a dual continental blend which takes listeners from Ireland to Calcutta, showing them all the mystical joys in each place. The new tracks include the reggae-flavored "Freetown," which features a plucky steel guitar lead line over a simmering organ, and "Milo," an acoustic-based ballad also steeped in some gentle blues. Higher Octave's roster has long featured acts which blend the sensibilities of various genres and cultures in one setting; this recording shows why EKO is one of the best of these.

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