SPC ECO: Anomalies (Saint Marie Records, 2016)
SPC ECO (pronounced Space Echo) is the project of Dean Garcia and Rose Berlin. The duo produces electronic fueled music that can defy description, running into dreamy pop to darkwave moodiness. SPC ECO first released an EP in 2007 on Club AC30 and their first full-length entitled 3-D in 2009 on Noiseplus Music. Since then, they have released ten full-lengths which include two albums with remixes. 2016 saw the release of their Saint Marie Records full-length Anomalies. Berlin’s vocals create dreamy, almost hypnotic melodies over Garcia’s electronic visions that move from floating, droney moments to electro-experimentation.
Anomalies begins with a tone setting track called “Out of My System”. It begins with a low-toned synth playing a melody and then electronic beats enter the mix. Berlin’s vocals are almost ethereal and echo at places. The chorus has an amazing hook, with droney synths and sci-fi sounding fuzzed out keys. The tone is reflected in Berlin’s wonderfully written lyrics.
The light it falls down on an empty day
The lies of another love, drifting away
You’re breaking the rules like I knew you would
You said that you’d step up and never could
Tired of all the pain and suffering today
The more I’m there distance seems to break us down
The tone of the lyrics are clearly reflected in the beautifully composed music and the marriage of the two is wonderful! “Incomplete” begins with a minor chord laden melody. The track is slow, patient, and sparse. The beats are kept to a minimum with intricately layered drones and subtle melodies played here and there throughout the composition. Berlin’s musical phrasings in her melodic vocals are stretched out and mesmerizing.
“Bare to Lie” begins with harsher tones and harder beats. Berlin’s vocals move from that floating dreamy mode into a more staccato form. The song is powerful with a touch of angst. The staccato vocals are then contrasted with the moments in the chorus, where lines are drawn out to great lengths. There is a snake-like feel to how Berlin sings “How can you bare to lie? How can you bear to lie?” as her vocals undulated through the words. “Your Own Way” is a ballad beginning with simple piano and deep, vibrating synth. It’s a beautiful track with a deep emotive feel that is expressed through both the vocals and composition. The creative team of Garcia and Berlin prove to be songwriting gold, with a magical ability to utilize music as an emotive tool to connect to the listener on so many levels. Both are masters of their craft and, even in the most simple moments like in “Your Own Way”, can spin a musical story that draws the listener into their world.
“Silent Maybe” is a song, both in tone and lyrics, that has a powerful sense of longing. The beats are drawn out, pensive, and careful. There are a lot of wonderful synth layers here to fetter out for the listener. Garcia really makes what sounds, on the surface, like a simple piece interesting and deep when one pays attention. “Silent Maybe” ends with the beat fading as it gets muffled and beautiful synth tones that fade into silence. “Think Twice” is an even slower track, evoking an almost psychedelic feel with its warbling synth pattern. Berlin singles in a hypnotic cadence that is mesmerizing and pulls in the listener. The lyrics are pensive and cryptic and beautifully delivered.
“Revived” has sparse synths, showcasing Berlin’s vocals right up front. Berlin sings,
But we try
To get by
But we know
It’s a lie
In the end
Are we friends
Is this something we can mend?
Again, and I cannot stress this enough, but the relationship between Berlin’s lyrical content and Garcia’s mood creating compositions is a marriage made in heaven. Berlin here is clearly singing about a complicated, perhaps ruptured, relationship and Garcia just delivers this beautifully composed, simple piece that really is a wonderful contrast to the complexity of human relationships. “All the Time” begins with it an almost sci-fi feeling and Berlin adds this wonderful hum in the mix. The synths are very electronic sounding and the beat pushes the song forward, sitting in a forward moving pocket, slightly in front of what the synths are doing. It gives the rather slow moving track an urgent feeling. “Lost in a Crowd” is the finale to the album and closes what is a cohesive sounding LP overall. It’s a slow, introspective piece that rolls through the speakers with soft percussion and ambient textures. It’s a perfectly placed song to close out Anomalies.
Anomalies is an electronic, dreamy ride that presents the listener with an introspective yet complex journey. The combination of Berlin’s lyrics and vocal prowess with Dean’s mastery of translating emotive moments into electronic gold prove to be infectious. SPC ECO’s Anomalies is another impressive release by the power duo.
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