French keyboard player Wally Badarou had only been in London for a year when he was asked to come to Island Records’ recording studio in the Bahamas to be a part of the session band for Grace Jones’ Nightclubbing. Badarou arrived at the now infamous Compass Point Studios, and it was during these sessions that he first met Sly and Robbie, Barry Reynolds, Mikey Chung and Uziah “Sticky” Thompson, the core group that would make up Island Records’ legendary studio band, the Compass Point All-Stars.
Echoes was Badarou’s first solo album after that seminal moment in his career. You can hear the precious nuance he uses to express the unabashed joy that you would expect to come out of a paradise like the Bahamas. The first track “Keys” is emotional and fresh. It paddles along with organic synth arpeggiations that gracefully come to life with brief and exciting shatters of electronic experimentation. The song flows sweetly into “Hi-Life,” an upbeat tune that opens with the sound of children playing before a drum machine kicks in to get listeners dancing. This juxtaposition of intense vulnerability into ecstatic celebrations shows you right away that Echoes is meant to be a journey. Absolutely worth the ticket to ride, this album is a must for fans of the Compass Point sound.
– Tana Yonas
Recommended – Full Listen
Tags: Compass Point / Dance / Downtempo / Mellow