The byline for Jacob Peter’s debut EP simple states the definition of the phenomena for which this release is named; Echolalia [ek-oh-ley-lee-uh]: the uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words spoken by another person. Throughout the EP, the Buffalo-based multi-instrumentalist and composer implements this theme both lyrically and musically. He explores, reflects upon, and calls to question the vast repetitions we experience in life, both harmful and beneficial, unwanted and intentional. The arrangements and production match the subject matter, taking the listener on an eclectic journey of recollection and repetition, mining a deep well of musical influences, ranging from The Beatles to Joanna Newsom to Debussy to Grizzly Bear.
Echolalia starts off with the instrumental track “Pattern,” a piano progression that lilts forward before the bursting open with twinkling ambience across the speakers. From there, Peter takes us on a tour of sonic textures, never letting each song (nor the EP at large) become defined by any singular label. The arrangements are rich with varying stylistic moments, seamlessly interwoven together; melancholic folk guitar passages, jazz-hued harmonic structures, pop-crooning melodies, indie bass-and-drum grooves, experimental noise, floating woodwind and brass riffs, ambient organ swells, and cinematic string flourishes all make appearances.
The second to last track, “Ateles,” is a standout here; a beautiful and immersive ballad that sounds simultaneously both uplifting and sedative.
Jacob Peter makes a statement with his latest release. Echolalia is a delicate, intricate, and meticulously crafted work of contemporary singer-songwriter tunes, showcasing a new artist’s compositional vision. Its enough to fill you with excited anticipation for a full release, but for now check out the five-song EP over on Bandcamp.