Ulan Bator | Ego:Echo | ReviewEgo:Echo is a kitchen sink experiment that sidesteps the too-many-cooks syndrome. Ego:Echo is a kitchen sink experiment that sidesteps the too-many-cooks syndrome.
Virtually uncategorizable, Ulan Bator should appeal to fans of hypnotic drone, whether they approach it by way of Femi Kuti or Hovercraft. The record is a shimmering warp of Mellotron loops, effects-pedal sustains, pulsating amp squelch, strains of Hammond and Wurlitzer organs, and snakey, molten bass lines—an unlikely collision of soothing rhythms and acid-trip surprises.
The only time Ego:Echo falters is on the Zen catechism “Let Go Ego,” whose title is repeated after we hit the 14 minute mark with mantra-like fervor until you wanna scream. It’s reminiscent of Michael Gira’s occasional bouts of pretentiousness, but even Red Crayola’s Mayo Thompson has never been as annoying as singer Olivier Manchion is here.
But then Manchion and vocalist/guitarist Amaury Cambuzat redeem themselves with the mesmerizing French-sung ballad “Hiver,” the two-tone sashay of “la Jouese De Tambour” and the rousing Chorale “Soeur Violence.” Even at its most jarring, Ego:Echo works—not in spite of—but because of its fearless embrace of all that is clunky and unharmonious…