Echoes and Signals is a musical project by Russian songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and record producer Fedor Kivokurtsev. The project’s title refers to the ‘unity of opposites’ concept, which is the central category of many philosophical discourses.
I’ve been a fan of Fedor’s work for a long time and it’s always a joy to know he is working on new music so, when he told me about this new album, I was very excited. Fedor told me that the new album, “…is the continuation of (2021 release) ‘Mercurial’, and the whole cycle is related to Carl Jung’s researches on alchemy as a Metaphor for psychological processes. In particular ‘Lunar’ is something around the subject of Anima.”
And this explanation is continued on the website;
The moon. It fascinates and leads astray, it inspires and destroys, it can give strength and can drain. The moon is the source of the greatest danger and the greatest blessing.
Moonlight shines in the darkest night showing thousands of ways to go. Some of them are making you run in circles, some of them are going nowhere, but there are few that can guide you through the dark.
This album is the continuation of the journey started in “Mercurial”. We have to face something irrational, something that can not be described with the words, something that lies somewhere very deep inside us.
“Keep your eyes wide open, keep your mind wide shut”.
The mellifluous opening of Amygdala with its mysterious undertones and hushed vocals opens the album in an understated way, there’s something almost disconcerting about this short piece. The Witching Hour has a symbolic, edgy atmosphere with a staccato drum beat and guitar riff adding to the enigmatic vocals to deliver something ethereal and other worldly. You’re left on the edge of your seat and holding your breath as you get deeper and the superb Porcupine Tree-esque instrumental section really adds to the drama and feeling of unease.
The movement of the moon across the sky, lunar cycles and phases – all this serves as clues and landmarks. Ebb and flow, daily rhythms, the human endocrine system and many other things depend on the lunar cycles. Invisibly, the moon affects us and our condition, and this cannot be avoided.
Title track Lunar has light and airy feel, the vocals dance across your synapses, touching your mind and soul and the celestial music adds to the supernal aura. There’s power there though when the music bursts into life. Once again, there’s a supernatural feel as the track moves into a darker instrumental section, this is post-prog rock at its absolute best, music that affects you deeply and directly. Serpentine begins with a mystical, secretive air, pared back and equivocal, the vocals are low and precise and the song moves along inexorably towards its guarded conclusion, a deliciously dark composition that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
It could be a soundtrack to a deep and meaningful Sci-Fi film with its shimmering keyboard heavy intro but there’s a sharp, chaotic edge to Mana as it opens up into its ten minute plus running time. Epic in scope and delivery, this track is another superb piece that has a real feel of early Haken combined with some classic Ultravox and is one of the stand out songs on this dazzlingly elaborate album. Involving, mesmerising, hypnotic and, at times, damn heavy, it’s a personal favourite of mine.
Let the fire burn as long
As it needs to become coals
The wind will carry your fear far with cinders
Leaving space to grow…
Cryptic and guarded, there’s a melodic elegance to Cinders and a stand out chorus too making it perhaps the most commercial track on the album but that’s not a criticism, it is still a fine piece of songwriting and what’s wrong with a memorable chorus that you can’t get out of your head? The spaced out introduction to Gravity fits perfectly with the song title before a monolithic riff and thunderous drum beat take centre stage. Calming vocals bring something quieter to the track but there’s always that primeval force hidden in the background and occasionally being let loose. Another track epic in length and dynamism and one that verges more on prog-metal than post-prog showing Fedor’s stylistic virtuosity as it ebbs and flows between a rock and a hard place.
And I saw the dark
After I’d reached the point
The center of the black hole
The point of no-return
The chiming keyboards and edgy drums and guitar give an almost frantic feel as Roots begins but that becomes more composed, even the potent chorus feels deliberately reined in. There’s a pleading tone to the voice, forlorn and lost maybe, does the dark envelop us all in the end?
And I know
Some things are meant
To become gold
Inside the burning fire
The brief, burning flame of Cassandra closes out the album in style, a glorious three minutes of music with heartfelt vocals and an organ-like synthesiser that left me emotional and yet hopeful, after all, some things are meant to fade away…
Powerful and moving, ‘Lunar’ is one of those albums that transcends music to become something much, much more. It is written in such a way that you make your own interpretation and it will affect us all in different ways. Personally I felt emotionally moved by what Echoes and Signals have created and I implore you to make the journey yourself and see where it leads you.
Released 20th April, 2023.
Download the album here for free: