EOTO featuring Michael Travis and Jason Hann

by lydiasee

EOTO, featuring two members of the popular Jam Band, String Cheese Incident, played to a small but enthusiastic crowd on Friday, March 20th at the Rocket Club.

Jason Hann and Michael Travis are seasoned musicians who artfully allow the audience to feed into the progression of their live performance, as each show they perform is completely improvised. Hann and Travis have a nearly telepathic connection with one another and the crowd during their shows, and that intuition allows them to effectively cater their sound to that specific night or set. They utilize varied analog and electronic elements, including a live drum kit, hand percussion, sampler, bass, guitar, keyboards, as well as live mixing. The truly dynamic aspects of this Dub-Step-Electro-House unification can only be fully appreciated at a live show, though the band does offer recordings of most live sets the next day via LiveDownloads.com, a pay-by-the-show music downloading site.

Both musicians come from varied musical backgrounds, Travis is known for simultaneously playing hand-drums and kit and emulating the electronic beats of DJs and programmers, while Hann playes with a range of world and fusion influences due to his own international study, and playing with everyone from Loreena McKinnet to Isaac Hayes.

Although some would say EOTO stood for “Elephants Only Talk Occasionally (2006)” or “Each One Teach One,” when asked about the origins of the name EOTO in The Madison Music Review, Hann replied “It did actually did stand for End Of Time Observatory at one point. It was a lot to explain and many thought we meant the End of the World Observatory – completely different philosophy, kind of dark sounding, and one that made interviews and casual questions complicated. At some point, we recognized the first letters spelled a kind of made up word that meant nothing and everything at the same time, and the name cemented itself when Japanese fans said that our pronounciation of the word (Ee-oh-toe) means “good sound” or “good music” in Japanese. If that’s not a sign…”

Unfortunately, despite the tasty offering of Eymarel opening, and then a solid two hours and then some from EOTO, their show was not very well-attended, which always affects the ferocity of a band that exchanges so much energy with the audience. However, after a slightly slower first set with more of a House feel to it, EOTO came back in their second set a little dirtier, grittier, with more of a Jungle or Drum&Bass feel. The last song ended with an epic double bongo jam over an escalating key loop, all culminating in a rousing cymbals break-down à la Goldie or LTJ Bukem, and then a statement from the band:  “We have played up until the end, just so we wouldn’t miss a minute of it, so thanks so much for soming out!” No messing around wasting time with leaving the stage and waiting for an encore, these guys pushed it up until past last call, in a solid presentation of musicianship.

As the constant evolution of the music genre progresses, bands who cross-pollinate musical influences are emerging as the new fusion, whether it’s live-electronic-analog House or alt-country-rock-indie, and EOTO is a forerunner in the fusion of live jam with electronic dance music, with a fun and moveable result.