The centerpiece of Pink Floyd’s Meddle album, “Echoes,” is a sprawling 23-minute odyssey of psychedelic imagery, contemplative sound effects and rushing melodies. That 1971 song laid the groundwork for the sound the band went on to explore on Dark Side of the Moon and their subsequent Seventies albums, and it was the secret ingredient that made their Live at Pompeii film so mysterious and enthralling, thanks to the icy pin-prick sound that Rick Wright conjured from his keyboard. It’s such a signature song, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing it justice, yet somehow the Mexican acoustic-rock duo Rodrigo y Gabriela landed on a brilliant interpretation.
The ambitious cover, which will comprise the second half of their upcoming album Mettavolution, runs 19 minutes. It works so well in part because it’s instrumental (they play Wright and David Gilmour’s snaky vocal lines on their guitars), and in part because the musicians allow themselves to jam out. The middle section, around the eight-minute mark, is a flurry of prog notes and string textures; Floyd had Hammond and Farfisa organs, they get it done on their acoustics. They even manage to put their own spin on the eerie seagull-like sounds Wright made with his keyboards by rubbing their instruments and plucking super high notes. Like the original, the song is its own journey, and it’s beautiful.