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ECHO US

Neo-Prog • United States


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Echo Us biography
"I certainly believe in going within to find a connection with the outer world. To find the 'child' within where everything is open to speculation and wonder...it's a sort of 'psychic' connection for me, and music is simply part of the process." -Ethan Matthews


Echo Us started as an electronic pop group in Boston, Mass. all the way back in the year 2000, but really came to life as the solo concept project of Ethan Matthews after a stay in the Mass. General Blake 11 Psych Ward and move to Portland, Ore. in 2003. After much needed recuperation and a debut full-length release in 2005, Echo Us branched out incorporating a variety of different musicians from all over the spectrum of the Pacific Northwest music scene. The Tide Decides resulted, and the flow of music increased considerably, forming a multi-album conceptual work that reached its apogee with 2012's Tomorrow Will Tell The Story. Tomorrow Will Tell The Story incorporates everything from ambient synth washes and strings, to extra-terrestrial chants & canticles, and all kinds of world music influences. The album received an Independent Music Award (Vox Populi) for "Best Eclectic" recording.


In 2009 Echo Us signed a one-album deal for the release of The Tide Decides through Musea Records. Ethan's history also includes composition, production and guitar work for the progressive metal group, Greyhaven. Greyhaven released their debut album in 1999 on Angular Records (Musea/SPV) which was considered a breakthrough album at the time developing a marriage between krautrock, new age, and progressive metal. They were the first band to ever display these influences in tandem and were noted as being one of the bands to watch in 1999-2001. Echo Us took the basis of Greyhaven's synthetic textures and broadened them to include many more styles of music, again resulting in critically acclaimed recordings and pioneering work in the realm of progressive and electronic music.

-Absolute Probability Records

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Buy ECHO US Music


The Tide DecidesThe Tide Decides
Import
Musea Parallele/Musea 2009
Audio CD$11.89
$10.00 (used)
Tomorrow Will Tell the StoryTomorrow Will Tell the Story
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$8.38
$6.30 (used)
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ECHO US discography


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ECHO US top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Echo Us
2005
3.85 | 7 ratings
The Tide Decides
2009
3.40 | 11 ratings
Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
2010

ECHO US Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ECHO US Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ECHO US Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ECHO US Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Black
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
The White
2001

ECHO US Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tomorrow Will Tell The Story by ECHO US album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.40 | 11 ratings

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Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
Echo Us Neo-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Tomorrow Will Tell The Story' - Echo Us (7/10)

Imagine a collaboration between Peter Gabriel, Vangelis, and Alvin & The Chipmunks, and you might get an impression of what Echo Us are all about. Sure, this might sound like a ridiculous way to describe a band, but this US progressive act makes the weirdness work, to some extent. As such, 'Tomorrow Will Tell The Story' has received some polarized criticism, and in all honesty, I'm not sure what to think of it. On one hand, Echo Us have a brilliant skill with texture in their sound, but this is offset by a relatively weak sense of composition. In the end, Echo Us demonstrate plenty of potential, but lack the sort of focus to completely realize it.

Around this point, I might imagine someone reading this would be wondering what I meant about the Chipmunks reference. First, it should be made clear that the music of Echo Us never sounds silly enough so as to be not taken seriously. Instead, the comparison should be taken by the meaning that Ethan Matthews and co. frequently make use of voice manipulation. Although Ethan sings normally here as well (passing me as a cross between the voices of Peter Gabriel and Roger Waters), it is common for the voices to be tweaked or modified, usually to the point where they will sound more like another instrument than 'singing'. Considering that Echo Us is heavily based in synth and electronic music, this vocal weirdness usually works brilliantly.

Ethan Matthews has a musical vision that can be a little difficult to pin to one particular style. The music usually treads between Vangelis-style electronica and world music. However, sound and texture are brighter points in his work than the facets of structure and composition. In fact, 'Tomorrow Will Tell The Story' comes off as a fairly scattered album. The music follows its pleasantly dreamlike course, but the vast majority of Matthews' compositions feel like sketches, or rough ideas in need of focus. The exception to this meandering stretch is 'The Light It Moves, En Vie est Lumière' through 'The Echoes Of Era'; part of the larger 'Archaeous Of Water' suite. Here, Matthews channels his strange melodies and textures into something that really works. Even here, it can feel like Echo Us is throwing every musical idea hey can think of on the table, but the best ideas are developed and fleshed out excellently.

Like I said towards the beginning of the review, I'm still not sure what to think of Echo Us. I know that I like what I hear, but there are still many things that feel sorely lacking. 'Tomorrow Will Tell The Story' gives the impression that Echo Us had a stirring pot full of great ideas, and when it came to time to write the album, they were largely pulled out at random and arranged blindly. Fortunately, this approach works better than I would have first thought, thanks to the quality and sonic depth of the ideas. This is a bit of an oddball album, and though Echo Us have some serious structural issues with their music, it keeps me engaged, listen after listen.

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 Tomorrow Will Tell The Story by ECHO US album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.40 | 11 ratings

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Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
Echo Us Neo-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Enter another world

"Tomorrow Will Tell the Story" is the new album from Portland based Echo Us and unlike some of my colleagues, I found this to be a wonderful experience. There are so many projects out there which sound all the same to me, I feel like I've heard it all before. The worst are the mechanical efforts to be technically complex, I know after 30 seconds that I will never make it through their 75 minutes of "same old song and dance." On the other hand there occasionally is a project like this, which is unusual, intimate, and charming. It takes me to another place and I love that. Matthews talked about inspirations coming from trance and dream states and it certainly sounds the case.

The band is the brainchild of Ethan Matthews and on this album he is assisted by vocalist Henta and the harp of Raelyn Olson. The highly ambient and otherworldly electronic journey recalled for me Vespertine-era Bjork with the amazing touch Zeena Parkins' harp brought to those live Vespertine shows, along with the choirs and the beats of Matmos. It occasionally brought to mind certain tracks by French outfit Syd Matters as well (the more electronic, less folky ones). However don't think Bjork in terms of vocals here. Instead Henta and Matthews conceived an incredible concoction of ethereal vocals, choirs, samples and character parts which tell this elaborate story. Olson's harp works integrally with the keyboards and vocals to produce a stunning backdrop for the story. And Matthews is a very good guitarist, those parts being a nice grounding effect to counter some of the busier and more jarring sounds which occasionally bombard the listener. It's a great combination of the soothing and the provocative.

It is such a treat how the sound makes me feel like I'm swimming through some underwater ocean world, fish and other creatures swimming around, taking in the dialogue of the life forces around me. Swirling, layered voices and piano notes, swelling synths, beats and blurbs bounce all around with occasional celestial sounding vocals pulling the whole thing together. There is a heavy spiritual vibe to the proceedings (not in a heavy handed religious way) which adds to the richness of the music. Some complain about the "new age" feel which is just a label really. While this may not sound at all like typical "prog rock" why does it have to? It is a lighter piece when compared to contemporary rock bands but there is nothing fluffy about Tomorrow. It almost takes on the inspirational tone of people like Peter Gabriel and Mike Oldfield as it creates a musical/visual world around the listener, and when it works for you, there's nothing that beats that feeling of discovery.

A beautiful album and an exceptional one in my opinion, with an enigmatic sound and presence. Some prog fans will reject the approach of this album but I commend Matthews, Henta, and Olson for this work. (I heartily encourage anyone who likes this recording to watch Bjork's "Vespertine live at the Royal Opera Hourse" DVD. You won't regret it, especially if you love unique harp playing and sound which creates surroundings-see my review here for more details.)

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 Tomorrow Will Tell The Story by ECHO US album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.40 | 11 ratings

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Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
Echo Us Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars This is painful for me because I really respect the creator of this music. But this album...... Well, I have to be brutally honest.

Echo Us is listed as Neo Prog. But this is not what this album is about. It is very much a electronica album with a lot of ambient influences from Japan and China. The songs are based around tangents, various samples and Ethan's distorted vocals. The songs are fragmented and not songs in the traditional Neo Prog sense of the word. The sound is excellent though.

I understand what Ethan is trying to do here and the concept is sound and good. The result though is not good though. The songs are too fragmented and simply neither good enough or anywhere interesting enough to hold my interest. To put it simple; this is not my cup of tea.

2 stars

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 Tomorrow Will Tell The Story by ECHO US album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.40 | 11 ratings

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Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
Echo Us Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Crossover and E&O Teams

3 stars Oh my dear g., this is really far from what I expected. In a bad way I'm afraid. How to rate music which I listen (I did thousands of times during my life), I'm trying to get into (I've tried dozens of times on various albums in past), which I don't like (it also happened before) and also music which I don't consider Prog. That's three bad things and so far no positive. Oh, there is one, music harmonies, pleasant compositions, which are unfortunately quite shallow.

Far from being "normal" Neo Prog, this electronic experiment (voice modulator, sound effect of various kind and - not sure why - Japanesque feeling), this would be ambient, if it wasn't for all other elements that forms this. As it is now, it only has ambient feelings, but not "guts" - insides. Record that surely confuses (and will confuse) people who listens / will listen to it.

Damn this, there are some good things - it's original, it flows easily and you feel refreshed. I'm sure some will find its similarity with trance (to some degree) disturbing and repulsive. I know that I do (a little bit), but it's cleverly done and works incorporated into this music.

3(+), still I cannot go higher as this is very controversial kind of "Prog" (if it's Prog), so I'll remain neutral.

P.S - I kid you not now when I say that I like it a little bit.

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 The Tide Decides by ECHO US album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 7 ratings

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The Tide Decides
Echo Us Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This sophomore effort from US act Echo Us is a creation that will twist many heads for sure.

Mysterious, twisted and unexpected - in a varity of unusual ways. The production is smooth and careful, dissonances and disharmonies are nowhere to be found, and ambient passages does fill up quite a lot of playtime here.

But the good old harp and the violin does add a few unusual touches, while vocalist Ethan has a voice pretty identical to the guy that used to sing in Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Add in brief passages that musically sounds just like this act if they had a violinist and harp player onboard, a few select metal-inspired bursts as well as eastern-tinged keyboards and percussion layers coming and going and you might just start getting a feel for this album. Oh, and quite a few passages with spoken words as well.

Shifty, quirky and challenging stuff - but in a wildly different manner than most anything given such descriptions previously from my meagre knowledge. And well worth investigating if you fancy something unusual - or does find the above description intriguing.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to finnforest for the last updates

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