ECHT! is a fat-as-hell beats collective which calls Brussels home, although each of the four hails from elsewhere, drawn to the open, centrifugal force of the Belgian capital.
The name comes from the local Brusseleir dialect, and translates to English as simply ‘real’, although the French ‘vrai de vrai’ might seem to hit slightly closer: ‘the real thing’. It’s a direct summation of their musical approach; that the breaks and grooves they create are ‘real’, created with acoustic and analogue instrumentation as opposed to being fashioned digitally, as the tight, lush beatz might suggest.
Italian bassist Federico Pecoraro, French keyboardist Dorian Dumont, and drummer Martin Méreau and guitarist Florent Jeunieaux – both of whom hail from the Mons – cite influences such as J Dilla and Aphex Twin, which twin icons I think you can definitely hear inculcated within their latest single, “500 gr.”, which you can hear below; the very crispest breaks, a Taking Of Pelham 123 dark grandeur to that interjecting riff; eerier ambient electronica glimmer beginning to wind through. One for cap-down contemplation, it’s atmospheric as hell.
It’s culled from ECHT!’s debut album, INWANE, which is due for release on Ghent’s Sdban label on September 24th. It’s their first physical release for the imprint since 2019’s DOUF EP, which is out there on 12″ if you seek hard enough; and follows three excellent and funky live-in-the-studio sessions from earlier this year, the BREWmixes – catch the first of those on YouTube here, why not, and work your way through.
The band say of “500 gr.”: [It’s] a low, heavy trap with the added value that it’s played by real instrumentalists on real instruments. On top of this typical trap beat, harmony and melody will take you further, into a strange and hypnotic atmosphere.
“We recorded the brass section in a church so we get this real warm impact plus a natural, generous reverb.”
And what do we have to look forward to on that album? “We wanted to go into deeper beats,” they say. “We were listening a lot to trap, gritty hip-hop and bass music, and we tried to emulate those kinds of beats on our instruments.
“The darkish mood of those music genres was fitting for us with this strangest year of 2020. But we also wanted to give a contrast with some brighter parts, where the human feeling is more present.
“This duality continued in the mixing process by pushing or destroying some sounds, adding electronic textures and effects, but also keeping some sounds really acoustic and organic.
“The result is for us a mature album: the feeling of electronic music emulated on instruments is confirmed but the human vibe stays central.”
ECHT!’s INWANE will be released by Sdban on September 24th; keep your eyes peeled on the label’s Bandcamp page for pre-order details.