Teco is the solo project of London-based singer/songwriter James Heesbeen. His debut EP consists of five tracks all self-recorded in Heesbeen’s small home studio. The songs were written during a dark time for him personally and deal with the topics of loss and anxiety. Teco’s sound could be described as alternative or indie rock but has hints of post-punk and even pop.
The album started with the title track “Black Sun” and although the vocals have a similar tone as Chris Martin from Coldplay, the way Teco blends and fades his voice into the instruments is pure Thom Yorke, in fact, the entire sound instantly reminded me of Radiohead. It is obvious that the band is a huge influence on him although there is distinct originality and uniqueness that is all his own. I really loved the song. The production value is impressive and the distortion and effects are not overdone at all and work perfectly with the instrumental backings. I love the way the vocal melodies are at times parallel with the guitar as opposed to complimentary, it gives it a multi-dimensional ambient feel that completely envelopes you.
The next track “Scattered in the Squall” has a very similar vibe while being slightly more upbeat but still has the mellow ambient feeling in the first track. Teco has a certain way of using his vocals to work with the instruments in such a unique way. “Gravity Shifts” had a slow, cool funky beat and probably was my favorite track on the EP. Teco showcased his falsetto in the vocals on this track and it worked perfectly with the groove of the song. The mellow theme still was there but this track had a sexy feel to it.
“Shotgun” took a different turn with a slightly higher key in the vocals and a more of a muddled take. The lyrics were sad and melancholy but blended well with the intricate guitar melodies. The final track “Taken” had a haunting ghost-like feel. The lyrics were intentionally hard to make out and sounded like muffled echoes in the distance. The song fades out and builds back up again which gave it a very atmospheric sound.
Black Sun is quite an experience. Each track had such texture and richness that flowed perfectly into the next song. Teco has a such a tactile approach to music, each song has so many layers that you can almost literally feel them around you as you listen. I really loved it and am looking forward to future albums.
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