Artist: Echo Us
Album Title: Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
Label: Absolute Probability Recordings
Street Date: March 20th 2012
Genre: Ambient/Progressive Rock
01 - Out Of The Blue
02 - Beyond The Horizon
03 - Docked At Bay
Archaeous Of Water v 1
04 - i. The Ears Of Eras
05 - ii. Anchors Away
Archaeous Of Water v 1
06 - i. The Light It Moves, En Vie Est Lumiere
07 - ii. Echoes Of Eras
08 - Iagla
09 - Waves Of The Glacier/A View From A Pier
10 - The Mirror In The Window
11 - Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
12 - Aureole (Bonus Track)
Harp: Raelyn Olson
Vocals, voices, the rest: Ethan
Echo Us is a music concept project created by Ethan Matthews, guitarist and producer of the progressive rock outfit Greyhaven. Originally formed as a recording duo and live band in Boston MA in the year 2000, Echo Us issued two early EP’s, ironically now referred to as “The Black” and “The White” because of their black and white covers with only the group name appearing. No contact info and minimal liner notes were seen on these cds as they were originally distributed for live show promotion only. The group initially formed of Ethan (guitar/programming), Matthew Cahoon (vocals), Kai Kurosawa (bass/Warr guitar), and Michael Van dyne (drums) played a number of Boston area shows before disbanding due to musical and internal differences in late 2001.
Ethan moved to Portland Oregon in 2003, kept the name Echo Us and finished up work on the full length debut, finally issued in 2005 through his own label/ imprint. This recording marked a huge shift too a much more experimental and ambient sound, and also included the bass guitar of Kai Kurosawa, originally from the live band.
2009’s The Tide Decides represented another transition. A nearly 70 minutes long conceptual work issued through Musea Records, the album included guest musicians Raelyn Olson (harp), Teri Untalan (viola), Andrew Greene (drums), and Aaron Bell (bass).
In 2007, the follow-up Tomorrow Will Tell The Story began it's composition stages through pieces of automatic writing ‘channeled’ by Matthews. The album was initially developed alongside The Tide Decides until it’s release, effectively beginning a multi-album conceptual work. Like the preceding album, Tomorrow... also includes a number of guest musicians including vocalist Henta, and again the harp of Raelyn Olson. Also appearing is a Kabbalistic ‘canticle’ performed by Rawn Clark, as well as harmonium by Daniel Panasenko. An abridged digital version of the album and video single of the track Mirror In The Window were released in late 2010 and 2011, respectively, and a remastered CD album with bonus tracks is set for release in March 2012.
Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is considered a cornerstone of the Echo Us material and the 2nd part of a multi-album suite that began with The Tide Decides. The final album in this larger work is in completion stages for release later in 2012.
Ethan Matthews was raised in a musical family residing in Eugene and Portland, Oregon areas of the Pacific Northwest. From the age of 8 he was recognized as “having music in him” by his childhood piano teacher. His father held a DMA in saxophone performance and taught school. Early on Ethan was exposed to everything from woodwind ensembles to all kinds of popular music. Although finally encouraged with the piano, he was not typically ‘moved’ by music in the way he saw others often were. It took quite a number of years to completely understand the emotion of music. At the same time, Ethan was always an ‘intuitive’ and spent much time in creative states, especially in his earlier years. Later on he would learn to apply some of these purely ‘psychic’ or clairvoyant-like states to music creation.
At a certain point, rock and other styles seemed to open up more- Ethan took up guitar lessons at 13, switching away from piano for a number of years. Towards the end of high school, he formed a group by happenstance with a couple of new acquaintances from school. The group called themselves and the recordings ‘Greyhaven’ and a demo EP moved with quick interest through the developing underground progressive music resurgence of the late 90’s.
Ethan refined his musical skills with Greyhaven through playing a number of live dates and releasing one album through the Musea/Angular label. Soon after he formed the band ‘Echo Us’ with Greyhaven’s live keyboardist, Mathew Cahoon. During 2001-2002 Ethan experienced a mental and emotional breakdown and turmoil that brought a quick end to this early incarnation of the group. Culminating with a stay in Boston Mass General’s mental ward, the entire focus of life changed. This experience, although kept under wraps and secret for many years ushered in a new kind of musical dynamic and ethos that would define the development of his music from that time on. Life was simply, never really the same after November 2001.
While in high school, and largely before the Greyhaven years Ethan had spent a long period of time recording many hours per day- once school was over he spent much of the evenings, often until very late recording with a simple four-track recorder, guitar and keyboard. Ethan often wore out tape with overdubs and at one point the tape recorder’s record head stopped working. His Dad recommended taking it to a shop, but instead Ethan figured out what was happening and fixed it himself. This must have been a precursor, because as things developed over time the theme of being entirely self-sufficient always came back again and again as a life-theme. However, above and beyond this is a stark and true belief in a concrete musical ideology- The work is only a vehicle and not an ends in itself. Nothing is about the process to him, but rather about achieving the outcome, so no matter how ridiculous the musical process might become, he would always take the hardest and lest-walked path, especially with Echo Us.
Lyricism was a later development in Ethan’s creativity, but in later years came to the forefront with Echo Us. Talking in an interview in 2000 with a German Magazine about a particular Greyhaven lyric:
“It is an attempt to create a kind of personal rest place, a place to which one can simply withdraw from everything, where one is completely satisfied with itself, content to be alone. This song somehow keeps it all together, all the issues explored in the rest of the lyrics and music. People often react stronger to it- It obviously opens the eyes of many- And I think people might think it’s this dark, melancholy thing and they relate to it that way- but really, it’s a satisfaction and contentedness. This is how I often feel, and why I will pull away from the world when I need to”.
In recent years Ethan’s focus with Echo Us has changed to pure music composition, production and recording, sometimes spending years working on one release. Although firmly planted in the popular music world of songwriting, Ethan composes with strong dynamics and a traditional sense of development closer to classical composition. It is this combination of depth, emotion and complexity that push him into new territories while at the same time retaining a strong sense of innocent romanticism, urgency, and beauty throughout his work.
Robert Silverstein, writer for 20th Century Guitar and Music Web Express writes: “Matthews is a multifaceted musical genius...Ethan teaming up with Henta reminds me of Edgard Varese producing Mike Oldfield and Maggie Riley-this is 21st century music in all it’s glory- the sound of the future arriving today from tomorrow land..."
www.seaoftranquility.org: "Echo Us' mastermind Ethan Matthews is finely tuning his interpretation of modern progressive rock- The most unique sounding album I have heard all year."
www.dmme.net: “The whale hymns of "Out Of The Blue" lift up the recital "Sh'ma Israel" from the ebbing depth- where a crystal harp strum meets the shadows of a gigantic guitar riff- adding up to an abstract, otherworldly anthem...”