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Inside Tame Impala and Melody’s Echo Chamber’s Unlikely Partnership

Melody's Echo Chamber / Photo by Diane Sagnier

Melody’s Echo Chamber surfaced in late June via a lone, mysterious single. The dreamy fuzz gem “Crystallized” came seemingly out of nowhere, adding a psychedelic gleam to Summer 2012. But, of course, the magic had a maker: Paris-based singer songwriter Melody Prochet, whose sweet, airy voice retains its angelic purity even when swathed in echo. Full of trippy analog synths and lolling rhythms, Prochet’s music also benefits from detailed, speaker-popping production by Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker.

Prochet was floating through Paris’ scarce indie rock scene when she met Parker at a Tame Impala show. “I really wanted to know what he used for his crazy space-guitar tone,” Prochet told SPIN. “Basically the first thing I asked Kevin was, like, ‘I need to know all your secrets,’ but he didn’t tell me. It’s really secret. So we ended up talking about compression and nerd stuff at the bar.” The two studio geeks hit it off, and Parker asked Prochet to open Impala’s next string of European shows. The two traded demos on the road, and production ideas percolated. Before long, Prochet had skipped Paris to hang and record in Parker’s hometown of Perth, Australia.

There, working in Parker’s home studio, the singer fleshed out tracks she’d recorded earlier at her grandparents’ house in the south of France. She spent a couple of months living in a house with the boys from Tame Impala and its brother act, Pond. “Imagine that every day,” she said dreamily. “There are a million bands there that sound really amazing.”

A full album grew from the recording sessions, and from that a new band: Melody’s Echo Chamber. She wrote and arranged the songs, and Parker produced. He also provided the muscular, memorable rhythm section (playing both bass and drums), and the record came together amidst the milieu of hard rocking Perth house shows where bands were “not scared of experimenting and going crazy.” She cites Robert Wyatt and Can, and French composers Olivier Messiaen and Erik Satie as influences, along with more audibly apparent inspirations such as Broadcast and Stereolab. On both “Endless Shore” and the aforementioned “Crystallized,” Prochet’s glassy vocals waft wonderfully over the droning synths and buzzing guitars. “Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?” is more whimsical, built as it is on a quirky vocoder vamp.

Impressed with last year’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra LP, Prochet approached that band’s label, Fat Possum, with the Echo Chamber material. It was the right fit — the Mississippi-based label is releasing Melody’s Echo Chamber on September 25. That same month, MEC will tour American opening for the Raveonettes, in what is sure to be the year’s gauziest, most gorgeous fuzz-melody bill. The jaunt will also mark Prochet’s first extensive States-side travels. “I imagine the trip in the U.S. to be like Duel,” she says. “The whole movie is just a guy in a car with this old truck in pursuit and the guy gets freaked out. I can’t wait!”

Fair enough. The tour kicks off September 21 in Portland, Oregon.