Name of Album: 5 track sampler CD
Ratings: Personal - 2 General - 3
Release Date: September 10, 2002


Echo, reverberates what seems to be the new formula for innovative music these days: a femme fatale for a vocalist and a mix-master with an acute sense for the grooves, the ushering combination of electronic beats and drums and synthesized horns and any random collection of strange sounds that work well with his chanteuse's virtuosity. Thank Weekend Players.

Consisting of vocalist Joy Askew and "instrumentalist" Takuya Nakamura, Echo released their debut album on a portentous September 10, and despite the ominous timing it should be a hit. Fro their first production together they combine original works they can call their own with American jazz and popular vocal standards.

As many young listeners many now know, I've Got You Under My Skin is a classic. It is considered a quintessential part of the repertoire of American Pop Standards which emerged during the s'wonderful era of music from the 1940's to the early 1960s. Today, Echo's cover of the story might be considered a "remake." Fifty years (yikes!) ago it was simply considered a popular sung by several different singers. The Voice (Sinatra), Ella (Fitzgerald), Satchmo (Louis Armstrong) and the Velvet Fog (Mel Tormé) all had their versions of several of the same songs. It was not unusual for half a dozen vocalists to release their own interpretation of the same tune. Many cabaret, Broadway and singers appealing to "adult" audiences still do today.

Echo continues this grand tradition with I've Got You by combining a soft Kraftwerk like pulse with Askew's sibilant rendering, and—it works. This contemporary interpretation of a classic along with the four other original songs on the sample I received made a fan out of me.

Askew's performance on Every Time We Say Goodbye reminds me a lot of U2's Bono and Eurythmics's Annie Lennox, and on Can't Walk away, she sounds a lot like Stereolab's Laetitia Sadler. Seemingly versatile throughout, there is a slight lack of vibrato in her voice that reminds me of a style similar to Sade, and although her talent might never reach that of a high-performance diva with a 5-octave range, Joy still makes my ears happy.

Askew and Nakamura work well together and receive a duly earned 4 stars from me. I'd buy the album if I had to, and eagerly await to upgrade my rating to a 5 after having the opportunity to listen to the rest of their collaboration—when and if I receive that album.