WAAN represents the musical marriage of seasoned saxophonist Bart Wirtz and keyboard wiz Emiel van Rijthoven. As a pair of self-confessed tech nerds hailing from The Netherlands, their bromance was a slow burning one, but nevertheless their eventual collaboration fulfilled a dream that they’d both held close since first working
together back in 2010.
Omi, the second single to be taken from their debut album Echo Echo, has something of an Ethiopique feel, largely thanks to the low slung groove laid down by guest drummer Jimmi Hueting and the dark, crunchy bass line of Kasper Kalf. The track sprung to life via a piano melody that was eventually, and organically, transformed into alto sax and bass clarinet. The use of those instruments gave Omi a kind of Arabic or Middle Eastern flavour to add to the already steamy musical stew. The duo then sprinkled on icy synths to cool things down somewhat and give the piece a more electronic and club friendly feel which complements the hot Afro horns that ride the rhythm throughout. And finally, to add the finishing touches to this heady concoction, Emiel and Bart visited renowned beat maker Frank Wienk, better known as BinkBeats, who not only added his trademark percussion but also blended a little vibraphonette (a special kind of Italian vibraphone) into this mystic brew to create a unique and cosmic outernational sound!
With influences as disparate as Floating Points, BadBadNotGood and Eddie Harris, Echo Echo is far more complex than just being a dance music influenced jazz record. Co-producer Oscar de Jong, of Kraak & Smaak fame, encouraged the pair to play freely as part of a jazz group and then add the electronic elements. As
a result the album owes as much to Duke Ellington and Lalo Schiffrin as it does NERD and The Eurythmics!