On his latest release, Ecco2k demonstrates that he is entirely unafraid to experiment further than ever before, whilst continuing to explore topics of identity and self-discovery. On the introductory track of the project, he establishes the EP as existing within a genre of its own when he boldly declares “I call it pixie music”.
The project as a whole is more effective when listened to in order, rather than as individual songs. This is evidently how it was intended to be listened to, as it was uploaded as a singular 10-minute video on drain gang’s YouTube channel alongside a Manga-inspired animated clip. Individually, some of the songs may seem rough around the edges or even incomplete, but as a collection of ideas, ‘PXE’ is an interconnected and cohesive EP.
This accompanying YouTube video provides a lot of much-needed context to the otherwise confusing and potentially indigestible project. It portrays two halves of Ecco2k’s persona: his masculine side, Ecco, and a more feminine version of himself, Echo. Towards the beginning of the video, a confident Echo is seen to be encouraging a shy looking Ecco to “Come out of your shell / Come into the light”. It’s as if Ecco must accept his other half, in order to truly understand his own identity.
This theme can be seen in the lyrics of In The Flesh: “When no one’s watching I’m someone else”. This track is the most traditionally structured and accessible track on ‘PXE’, striking the most similarity to his previous debut album ‘E’. It is the closest the EP comes to the traditional pop genre – in fact, it is the closest the EP comes to fitting into any genre constraints. It features Ecco2k’s renowned smooth, high-pitched vocals, which glide over a glitchy and upbeat instrumental.
Based on the overarching themes of the lyricism, this jealousy may be between the two opposing sides of his persona
This track blends seamlessly into Jalouse, a song formed around the plucking of an acoustic guitar. As the song progresses, it builds up into an explosive and layered repetition of “You want it too much”. It then moves in a different direction in the outro, “More than I care to admit / I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you (Hallå)” – the final word translates from Swedish to “keep” or “hold”. Based on the overarching themes of the lyricism, this jealousy may be between the two opposing sides of his persona, rather than between him and another person.
From this point on, the EP takes a much more experimental turn. No***’s Song opens with a verse in Ecco2k’s native language of Swedish, the final line of which translates to “This is just ugly / This is the ugliest of Sweden”, a phrase which is repeated in the outro of the track. Throughout the track, Ecco2k discusses being “stonewalled”, a likely reference to the Stonewall riots, a set of demonstrations by the gay community in 1969.
EP closer Big Air is an instrumental track, echoing elements of Ecco2k’s 2015 instrumental project ‘Crush Resist’. It is the longest song on the project, despite only lasting 3-minutes. It layers harsh and distorted non-lyrical vocals over clashing and aggressive drums and a contrastingly simplistic synth pattern. In this section of the YouTube video Echo is nowhere to be seen, instead it only features Ecco. Perhaps this a sign that the dichotomy within him has settled and he has accepted Echo, or alternatively it is hinting that he has rejected Echo altogether.
‘PXE’ captures an exciting and new sound for Ecco2k, albeit only for 10-minutes. Whether this is the direction his music will take on future releases, or whether ‘PXE’ serves as a brief experiment for Ecco2k whilst he exists between album cycles, it is refreshing to witness an artist who is confident enough to make exactly the music that they want to make with no constraints.
you will come to appreciate this raw and more experimental side of Ecco2k
The project may take a few listens to digest, even for avid Ecco2k fans, and it is definitely not his most accessible work, but it serves as a brief and fleeting glimpse into his creative mind as he embarks on his journey of identity discovery. Once you delve into the story and the themes behind the project within the YouTube video, you will come to appreciate this raw and more experimental side of Ecco2k as an artist.
Featured image courtesy of Linda Valenziano, permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @aloegarten via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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