Year of Release: 2012
Label: Absolute Probability
Catalog Number: EU05.02AP
Total Time: 64:37:00
There is a decidedly Asian feel to Tomorrow Will Tell The Story, the latest release from Echo Us (light, plucked sounds for one). The whole album feels like a breeze blowing across a mountain top, carrying along with it sounds from the village below. Some areas are full of activity, others serene. You will hear a lot of tinkling sounds; breathy keyboard washes; pulsing drums and percussion; vocal effects that are sometimes pinched, sometimes almost Gregorian in character; acidic, percussive guitars. There is a point, at "Archaeous of Water v 2: i. The Light It Moves, En Vie Est LumiÃ¨re," where the Asian is exchanged for a Middle-Eastern atmosphere, at least at the outset.
Surprisingly, I also thought of Genesis, mostly in the male vocals. While I can't say that Ethan Matthews sounds like Phil Collins, there is something in his voice that makes me think of Collins. But having said that, there are also times when he sounds like Steve Hogarth, and you would never think of Marillion here.
Bandleader Matthews describes this as ambient rock, and that is very much what it is, more so ambient. If we take a very strict definition of progressive rock, then this certainly fits the bill. I always think that prog rock (or prog music in general) should never stop asking the question "what if..."? in creating new sounds, or melding two disparate styles into something that meshes well together. And that's what is going on here. While the majority of the album is the ambient side, with "Iagla" we get slightly rockier passages, heavier percussion; also again on the bonus track "Aureole" and in some ways, more so.
As flowing as the album is, there isn't really a need to pick out individual tracks - there are distinct titles for sections, but rarely is there a break - or a perceptible break - between tracks. It's one of those albums that you don't so much listen to as absorb. Sit back in a comfy chair, in headphones, and relax. It's peaceful, even with the bits of acid guitar... it envelopes you in atmosphere. As my work-life has been going at a very hurried pace since mid-January, it is this restful release that I have turned to during that time to try and slow down.
From the press sheet: "Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the second album [following on from 2009's The Tide Will Decide] in an evolving three-album suite. Tomorrow... tells a story of consciousness raising itself from earth-bound reality to that of higher forms. Throughout the album Henta and Ethan weave duets, portraying passage through a portal where time no longer exists."
You do get the feeling of time suspended; maybe things are moving about at the edges of perception, but at the center, all is still. As mentioned in the quote above, Matthews is joined by Henta on vocals... sometimes in harmony, sometimes it seems as if one finishes the other's sentence ... a quite clever effect, especially when a watery vocal treatment is added. Other guests are Raelyn Olson on harp and Rawn Clark, who provides a meditation canticle titled "IHVH-ADNI" in "Archaeous of Water v 2: ii. Echoes Of Eras."
I must confess that on more than one occasion I was brought to mind of Dream Academy's "Life In A Northern Town" (in terms of the vocalizations and the general mood) ... and at times the "pinched" vocals made me think of Golem from the Lord of the Rings films.
This will appeal more to those who like ambient music than those who like rock, since the rock element is used sparingly in comparison to its ambient nature. But for those who like immersive experiences - music for your mind and soul as it were, instead of your body - there is much to like and explore here on Tomorrow Will Tell The Story.
[As of this writing, you can view here a video of "The Mirror In The Window". If you order the CD through the band, your order will also include extended digital notebook -ed.]
Out Of The Blue (3:31) / Beyond The Horizon (5:25) / Docked At Bay (1:05) / Archaeous Of Water v 1: i. The Ears Of Eras (6:38) - ii. Anchors Away (6:11) / Archaeous of Water v 2: i. The Light It Moves, En Vie Est Lumière (4:30) - ii. Echoes Of Eras (9:02) / Iagla (4:46) / Waves Of The Glacier/A View From A Pier (5:18) / The Mirror In The Window (5:31) / Tomorrow Will Tell The Story (8:53) /
Bonus Track: Aureole (3:49)
Ethan Matthews - vocals, voices, the rest
Henta - vocals
Raelyn Olson - harp
IHVH-ADNI canticle by Rawn Clark
Echo Us (2005)
The Tide Decides (2009)
Tomorrow Will Tell The Story (2012)
Genre: Progressive Rock