Exploring Echo Us' deep & ethereal past uncovers an Inland Empire...
26 January 2023
Ethan Matthew’s Echo Us release their first archival work spanning 2007-2014, and it sounds like no time has passed.
Inland Empire, Echo Us' seventh full-length studio album might be seen as an epilogue to the original Echo Us trilogy (2009-2014). It’s opener, Across The Star picks up where 2014’s A Priori Memoriae closed but then spins through seven year’s worth of unreleased material. Inland Empire stands as its own as a completely new album from a previous era – seemingly frozen in time.
“Although it can be called an epilogue, it is absolutely its own work” says Matthews. “The tracks segue together seamlessly like most Echo Us albums, but I did not know where they belonged at the time they were composed; it was like plucking out things from the whole that didn’t quite fit before, but they fit together perfectly as their own work”.
Although the album was completed at the same time as 2014’s A Priori Memoriae, its closer cousin remains the award-winning Tomorrow Will Tell The Story, with its deep, ambient, and consciousness-shifting waves and soundscapes. Inland Empire fuses the unhinged electronics of Tomorrow Will Tell The Story with a more groove-based and down-tempo feel. Some Inland Empire tracks were played live in 2014-2015, forming a good percentage of the set supporting the release of A Priori Memoriae. Inland Empire features Ethan Matthews (multi-instruments) with a guest spot from Aaron Bell (Vibrassae & Degree Absolute) on bass.
“In many ways it feels like it might have been composed much later – it felt ahead of its time. Usually when I finish an album I detest listening to it, but with Inland Empire I remember listening to it a lot casually until we started rehearsing and playing live. It seemed to age well, so I think that was part of the reasoning to hold onto to it and release it later.”
As years passed and other releases came, the album was kept as an archival work except for one track (It’s Time For Winter) which saw limited release as a single in fall 2016. Unlike most archival works, Inland Empire will be very new to Echo Us fans, as no demos, bootlegs, or other material from it have ever been leaked. The album appears in 2023 exactly how it sounded in 2013 - down to the use of the original mix and masters. A digipak and digital release will be released February 7, 2023, as well as an nft with extra unlockable audio content.
Echo Us is a musical concept project active since the turn of the century. Begun by American composer and multi-instrumentalist Ethan J. Matthews, “Echo Us” literally means “to answer”, or “to connect”. The current format of the project began in 2001. Echo Us would become a vehicle for Matthew’s forays into the world of metaphysics, as much as it was a continuation of his musical and creative world that had begun a decade earlier.
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 capturing the material. ‘Spiritualist’ phenomena has at times completely surrounded the recording process, with 2012’s Tomorrow Will Tell The Story being the most lucid example. Tomorrow Will Tell The Story won an Independent Music Award and 2014’s II:XII, A Priori Memoriae completed a three-album trilogy describing consciousness raising itself through three concurrent levels. Echo Us music is both about pattern recognition and intuition, and features few stylistic boundaries.
“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].