Photo by Stevan Alcala
Austin’s Adrian Quesada is a lot of things–guitarist, bandleader, producer–but perhaps most of all, he’s a masterful curator. His work over the past decade or so is relentlessly eclectic and exploratory, bouncing between Grupo Fantasma’s Grammy-winning Latin soul, Brownout’s psych-funk, Brown Sabbath’s mind-opening Black Sabbath reinterpretations, and Spanish Gold’s tightly-honed rock-n-soul. He’s collaborated with the Sword, GZA, and freaking Prince, proving firsthand that boundaries between genres are silly at best and counter-productive to creativity.
Quesada calls the Echocentrics his solo project, but of course he shares the spotlight. Thievery Corporation’s Natalia Clavier and Tita Lima (daughter of Os Mutantes’ bassist Lihminia) featured on the Echocentrics’ 2011 debut, Sunshadows. The album sounds like a South Texas approximation of Ennio Morricone’s grandeur, and Quesada returns to that rich sonic well for the follow-up, Echo Hotel.
On “Gettin’ Away With Your Gal,” Quesada pulls Bill Callahan into his orbit, and it’s an inspired choice. Callahan added sly, subtle funk to his toolkit on the masterful Dream River, and with the Echocentrics, he goes further widescreen. “Gal” slowly moves from folk to dubbed-out dreamworld as Callahan conjures up an escape from the ordinary. Quesada speaks through his production and painterly guitar work, but his singular style is summed up at the end by Callahan: “Stay gone.”
Echo Hotel is out May 20 via Nacional Records. Catch the Echocentrics live in Studio 1A on May 26 at 1 p.m.