Ekca Liena - Drones Between Homes (Under the Spire) / Orb Night (Phantom Channel)
I've for some time been enthralled by the thought of Ekca Liena, a regular poster and self promoter on the After the Post Rock Forum. You can however only trust so many reviews especially when every new drone artist i discover is described as being similar to Stars of the Lid, Tim Hecker and Fennesz, just as the lazy reviewer describes all post rock as being a little but Mogwai, a little bit of Godspeed with a hint of EITS and so on. Whether it be the trick of the small distros to drum up interest and in turn sales or whether they're just that braindead i don't know. What I do know is that Ekca Liena is as great as i had expected. For some unknown reason i had assumed Ekca to be a girl, maybe an heir to Danielle Baquet Longs throne, as it is, Ekca Liena is simply a moniker for the work of Dan McKenzie.
Instead of sounding like everything else, Ekca Liena has a genuinely original and personal sound, it reminds me of Textile Ranch slowed down and intricately taken to pieces, like the cogs that turn inside a pocket watch or the gentle and elegant movements of a clockwork ballerina ,so the notes fall, delicate and graceful, mixing music box melodies with drones so lovely they would cause the sun to rise all by themselves should they be given half a chance.
In places you can hear echoes of Colleen and on the excellent Strange Dusk an ode to Ben Frost's ability to restrain sound from crossing over into brutality but getting as close as possible without touching, can be heard in the deep throbs that bring the track to a finale.
And so it is with a plethora of releases that Ekca Liena has jumped into the limelight, having wowed those in the know last year with the now sold out but soon to be rereleased Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement, Ekca returns with a release on two of the hottest experimental labels around currently (three it would appear, as he also has a new album on the Dead Pilot label), first up Drones Between Homes on the excellent Under The Spire label, two tracks that stay just shy of 15 minutes, dreamy and reflective in manner, however the real treat is the four track Orb Night and the even more excellent Phantom Channel label, four songs that twinkle like stars in the night sky, drifting like an owl swooping on unsuspecting prey, majestically beautiful yet slightly eerie and spine tinglingly awe inspiring. The title track, Orb Night, itself is simply epic, drifting between twinkles and dark ambient yet never sounding tired or outstaying its welcome over its 20 minute duration. One to watch for sure, hopefully he won't go too Machinefabriek on us.