Music Review

Album Rewind: ‘Radical Paradise’ by Echae Kang

Radical Paradise redefines the classical.

Looking back at the music that withstood the test of time, through fresh perspectives and archived reviews. The following review was originally published on November 16, 2016, written by Arnold for Music Mind.

Radical Paradise

Instruments are said to possess unique personalities that are molded into their infrastructure by the craftsmen who built them. Echae Kang’s instrument, an old French violin that she came across one day in a San Francisco shop, has as much of a resonating voice in her debut solo album Radical Paradise as she does. Kang details her first encounter with the instrument in the opening number “The Violin,” describing it as having “an angry sound.” As the album unfolds, Kang allows her violin’s anger to cut through productions, oftentimes providing an incredible amount of character to her stories.

Radical Paradise is an exemplary album that blends classical and contemporary genres, and Echae Kang’s gift as a musician cannot be overstated. Her performance on the title track (“Radical Paradise”) for instance is nearly awe-inspiring. It expresses the bond between musician and instrument in such a spine-tingling way, that you forget about how ingenious the song is at face value. It’s not every day that you hear an urban electronic song underscored by plucked violin strings. Each note tip-toes quietly beneath a gritty bass line and Echae Kang’s dreamy vocals carry the song to a plateau of piercing harmonics. It’s an experimental sound that Kang explores a few more times on the album.

In “L.A.” and “When Memories Are The Poison,” the singer fills the air with electronic pulses and rattling nuances that create a stern backdrop for her soft and delicate voice. You won’t find powerhouse singing on Radical Paradise, but the soul and inflection in Kang’s voice are appropriate in this setting. One of her strongest vocal outings is on “Terminal,” a passionate duet with singer-songwriter and Superstar K6 runner-up Feel Kim.

The two singers are convincing in their portrayal of two lovers at the precipice of collapse. The mental impression of an emotionally tense terminal, evoked by Echae Kang and Feel Kim’s lyrics, is paired with an icy instrumental that carries an immense amount of feeling in every measure.

But Echae Kang’s best partner in this whole project is, of course, her violin. She plucks her way through “Maybe I Did” and “Everything Will Be Alright” in a loving fury. Each note bounces around the air as she whispers gentle melodies into the wind. The firm hand she had on the electronic buttons in the first half of the album is lifted, and in its place is a far more stripped down approach. She ushers in guitarist Mathias Minquet and bandoneon player Koh Sang-Ji for “Now I See,” a lively tango track that goes rogue halfway through by incorporating rock elements to its roster.

The name Radical Paradise is a fitting title for violinist and singer-songwriter Echae Kang’s debut solo album. In it, she explores styles and genres far removed from her classical background. Echae Kang pushes herself in unexpected ways and transforms the idea that a lot of us might have of a classical musician. Don’t be mistaken – Echae Kang’s debut album possesses incredible tracks that meld her sharp violin talent (as heard on “Something Cold”) with an ear for deeply immersive electronic elements. The end result is a kaleidoscope of styles that celebrate the playground between classical and contemporary music.

8.8

Genre: Rock | Release Date: 10/12/16

Credit: This article was originally written and published for Music Mind (Source).

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