Forest of the Echo Downs is an ambient electro album from the New York (formerly Miami) trio Secret Frequency Crew, the follow-up to their excellent 2001 debut EP, The Underwater Adventure Hop Secret Treasure. It has been designed as an aural swamp, and overlaid with crickets chirping, bugs buzzing, and insects floating across ponds and creeks. The song titles ("Black Moss Caves," "Pollen and Spores") evoke murky swamps and wet, dank underbrush. The music is otherworldly and surreal, as if it were meant to illustrate the secret life of plants.
More than a concept album, Forest of the Echo Downs is a continuation of Secret Frequency Crew's primary tactic: disassembling the prototypical electro sound by removing its rumbling bass frequencies and keeping its astringent computer melodies, creating a dense yet free-floating trance. That's not to say that there aren't any beats. "Neon Bridge" burbles along at a stuttering, luxuriously slow pace, and "Forest Floor" loops into infinity, fading out as it continues to emit erratic glitch noise. The overall effect is startlingly unique, akin to Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" with a stop-start rhythm track.