Eco-Aura is a satellite music project under the vast universe of Forest Kids Collective - a collection of 27 different music projects led by Philadelphia based recording artist Paul G. Marchesani. Released on October 15, 2020 (yet written and recorded in 2015), the latest Eco-Aura release, Countries of the Sun, is a well-crafted showcase of atmospheric textures, rhythmic groove, and an ethereal dance of keyboard and guitar passages that compliment one another. The musicianship throughout is crisp and tight. Paul demonstrates his talents well and unabashedly showcases his knack for producing material that evenly draws sonic elements from the synthetic and the organic. The result is a collection of material that maintains distinctive electronic sensibilities while capturing the sound and delivery of a full band.
Even through all of the chord complexities and impressive phrases, there's no overplaying or pointless wandering on excessive tangents. There is enough versatility on each track to keep one intrigued and interested. "Underwater Pyramid" has a somber, spookier overtone while "Oasis" has more finesse in its lush and bittersweet character. The percussive, mid-tempo "Walk it Off" can leave one feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after a long day. "A Surrounding Wave" brings to mind artists like Tycho with its synth-drum infused groove and spacy guitar/keyboard juxtapositions.
While some of the shorter tracks are a bit too short and feel just a tad incomplete ("Yet These Fleeting Notions", for example, has some brilliant ideas that, in my opinion, could have been expanded into a longer work), the opening title track and the closing track "Crystal Lake Shore Drive" are top notch in blending a funky beat with an ambient vibe akin to a film underscore. Overall, Eco-Aura's Countries of the Sun is a nicely done E.P. with vivid atmosphere - perhaps conducive for a drive along the coast during sunset or for a walk in the park on a hazy afternoon.