Review: Noahs Boat – Echo (Downtempo)

This review covers the downtempo track Noahs Boat – Echo.

This track was released in 2012 on the album 366.

The track starts with a reverse cymbal and a guitar element. This is then backed by some synth string elements. Eventually, a drumkit is added to the mix, bringing with it a bassline.

The track then breaks down with only the guitar elements and a hi hat element. The drumkit then comes back in. What is different is that the guitar elements utilizes some slide notes. Some synth effects are added when the track breaks down briefly after.

Some of the guitar elements more or less incorporates notes that are not too dissimilar to something found in reggae. Eventually, the track breaks down with the guitars and the track ends.

One thing I do find about this track is the fact that it leans pretty close to a more instrumental style rather than an kind of ambient type track. The guitars are definitely at the forefront of the track. Yet, at the same time, it sounds like a synth bassline is used. The addition of the synth effects is worked nicely in there. The string synths is also a nice touch.

A lot of tracks I’ve heard that blends instrumental elements into an electronic track tends to have that effect that it’s just two layers. An example is that, hey, there is a rock element and then there is that house element. You can get that mixing oil and water effect because you are bringing in elements from two different genres. I didn’t even get a hint of that here. I think this is in large part because the instrumental portions are simply overwhelming the electronica elements in the track and the electronica parts were simply an added effect after.

What I do like is the chords used on the guitar. It gives this track a touch of reggae. At the same time, it’s not overly obvious that this is an influence thanks in part because a guitar is used and it’s not the bassline. As a result, it gives this track a rather relaxed feel to it.

This is where the real strength of the track comes in. The guitar elements that are layered over top gives off a great vibe of being sly and sneaky. Because of the reggae style going along in the background, it’s not the kind of sly scheming “I’m going to rob a bank” vibe, but rather, a “I am plotting something with my feet up in the living room” vibe. Through the complexity of different influences, this popped out in the other end and it works quite well.

One thing I will say is that this track does depend a little too much on the guitar elements. I would have liked to have heard some sort of synth melody added to break up the track a little better. Possibly a 303-ish melody might fit the bill because I’ve heard that used in other ambient tracks with similar vibes. Still, the way the guitar elements were used does give a nice sense of evolution throughout the track, thus avoiding any major sense of repetitiveness.

Generally speaking, this is a pretty solid track. The mood is nailed very nicely. The influences really give this track some nice flavours of mood. I would have liked to have heard a bit more variety in sounds rather than have just guitars all the way through to further break up the track, though. Still, I think it’s definitely a track worth checking out.


Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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