"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."

Echo Us is an American music-project founded by Ethan Matthews in 2000.

Echo Us is a musical concept project active since the turn of the century. Begun by American composer and multi-instrumentalist Ethan Matthews, “Echo Us” literally means “to answer”, or “to connect”. The current format of the project began in a psychiatric ward 2001. There Matthews experienced the first of a series of consciousness-shifts that drove the project forward in the following years.

The beginnings of Echo Us itself go all the way back to August of 2000 when Ethan’s first group, Greyhaven split. Greyhaven had released one full-length album in Germany that had put his music on the map internationally. Greyhaven was known for their inventive combination of progressive rock and metal with berlin-school electronic music. The band was revered and featured across Europe, and gained a strong following in Germany particularly.

Matthew’s calls his unique approach to composition “musical channeling”. Echo Us music is often written in trance states with automatic writing as the primary technique for recording the lyrical material. ‘Spiritualist’ phenomena has at times completely surrounded the recording process, with 2012’s Tomorrow Will Tell The Story being the most poignant example. Tomorrow Will Tell The Story won an Independent Music Award and featured the vocals of GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Henta, as well as a canticle sung by hermeticist Rawn Clark. Echo Us music is both about pattern recognition and intuition, and there are few stylistic boundaries.

 

Extended Biography of Ethan Matthews and Echo Us:

First appearing in Boston, MA as a musical duo issuing two initial EP’s, Echo Us united the synth/wave music of the era with a strong pop sensibility. Echo Us creator Ethan Matthews had issued one prior release and early demos with his original group of high school friends entitled “Greyhaven”, which became known as a groundbreaking but often misunderstood jewel within the underground progressive music world of the late 1990s.

Echo Us’ first full-length release in 2005 was penned and produced entirely by Matthews alone after the original band had split in 2001. Inspired by a stay in a psychiatric hospital and the circumstances that grew out Matthew’s life from then on, he often described Echo Us as a ‘sequence of essences’, or as an ‘entity of consciousness’ because much of its material was composed in various trance states and didn’t seem to fit into the rest of his prior musical background.


Echo Us, which to Matthews means “to answer”, or “to connect” grew to encompass elements of ambient, electronic, classical and various ethnic styles, resulting in a trilogy of albums released from 2009-2014. The second album in the trilogy, Tomorrow Will Tell the Story was nominated and won an Independent Music Award. It featured the vocals of Grammy-Nominated songwriter Henta, woven around lush, atmospheric landscapes generated from field recordings and samples created by Matthews, as well as various chants and meditations. The main meditation was recited by Rawn Clark, a mystic practicing the work and teachings of hermeticist Franz Bardon. With the album came comments towards its obvious religious overtones, and when questioned on the subject Matthews pointed out its non- denominational intention. Also with the album came a small flurry of video material that led to its successor, II:XII, A Priori Memoriae in 2014. A Priori is often cited as Matthew’s most ‘classically’ progressive work alongside the Greyhaven album. It featured constant evolving arrangements as well as live classical musicians and a similar but evolved atmospheric sound design to its younger cousins. Again the vocals of Henta were heard on the video single “Nightlight”. Echo Us recordings have been noted for their ‘seamless’ quality in that the entire album flows from track to track as one piece of music, or ‘movements’.


Ethan Matthews came from an extended musical family and began piano studies at age 7. His father was a music educator and held a Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in classical saxophone performance. In his teens Ethan taught himself guitar and moved into working with electronic instruments, recording extended cassette-tape demos, which in turn led to Greyhaven. Instead of spending time with peers, Ethan walled himself off in a secondary room in his father’s garage during his teens. This intense but still early musical activity, a response to extreme depressive states and anxiety bore resemblance to the early years of older, vaunted ‘progressive’ rock artists like Mike Oldfield, as well as musical recluses like Kate Bush and Michael Cretu. It’s no surprise that these musical comparisons often come to the forefront when his work receives media attention, as well as in their reference to early life experiences that drove him to music as a refuge and escape from daily life in childhood. Also often mentioned in reference to his body of work is the influence of 1970s ‘krautrock’ and Berlin-school electronic music such as Tangerine Dream. Greyhaven’s sound was built around a single synthesizer (the Korg Wavestation) in which Matthew’s created repeating patterns that locked to the band’s odd-time signature passages and metallic guitar sound. Greyhaven was noted for driving innovation in progressive rock and achieving a certain success as a young band. All this was cut very short due to the formation of Echo Us in 2000.

“I can feel almost instantly when something that is coming out of me will be Echo Us music, it engulfs me in its undeniable conscious-thought-patterns, which are very different than other projects I completed before. These days it is the only music I pursue; it gives a powerful enough draw to make me absolutely act on impulse- that impulse is my most favorite feeling in the world. That, is to me – Echo Us music” [Matthews; 2016].


Although firmly planted in the world of popular and rock music, Echo Us features strong dynamics and a far-reaching sense of development closer to classical forms. This combination of depth and probing complexity push the music into new territories while at the same time retaining a strong sense of innocent romanticism, urgency, and beauty throughout.