Synthesizers vs Acoustic Guitars-A False Paradigm

Is Echoes a haven of acoustic guitar or an outpost of electronic music?
I ask that question because at a Loreena McKennitt show in Harrisburg, PA that Echoes hosted with WITF, a listener walked up to our table and stated simply, “Less electronic music. More acoustic guitars.” I glibly responded, “I hear you, but that’s not going to happen.” I threw that story out as a light-hearted bit when I hosted International Guitar Night at the Sellersville Theater just outside of Philadelphia this weekend.
It seemed like an appropriate story after we’d just heard virtuoso performances from guitarists Brian Gore, Miguel de la Bastide, Clive Carroll and D’Gary. The comment was met with applause and laughter, but as I walked out of the show, several audience members said, “Please don’t stop playing electronic music.” Although we’ve been getting inundated with appealing guitar albums and International Guitar Night II is our February CD of the Month, Echoes has always spun a balance between acoustic and electronic music. Despite that, some listeners think of us as an electronic show, others as an acoustic oasis. Many hear us as a world music bazaar while some zone into a meditative state. It’s all on a circular spectrum for me. If you follow the circle it’s a continuous shading from one sound into another. But if you jump into the circle it might sound like one thing or another, depending on where you pop up. When I hear a great performance like IGN gave at Sellersville and in our studio, or I experience an epochal electric album like Japancakes’ Loveless, or the deep immersion of Steve Roach’s Arc of Passion, I feel like I’ve reached an exalted state with each of them, just in different ways.

International Guitar Night II Arc of Passion
And speaking of International Guitar Night, look for their Echoes session sometime in February or March.

Comment posted by
at 1/26/2008 11:18:26 PM

Well, thanks to you, I just purchased Shulman’s Endless Rhythms of the Beatless Heart and Bluetech’s Sines and Singularities from Echoes has a great balance of acoustic and electronic music.

Comment posted by
at 1/26/2008 12:30:08 AM

The beauty of Echoes is that it has never been just one genre. It is a portal for all of us. Sometimes it leads us to places we have been before and other times to new places. Sometimes it leads us to places we do not appreciate as much as others. For me, what is most important is the atmosphere of the music featured whether it is acoustic, electric or both. As long as it remains a portal rather than a category, I will continue to support its evolution. Thank you Echoes.

Comment posted by
at 2/5/2008 3:15:07 AM

One should always take from the show what pleases them. But to presume what everyone else wants, by simply taking a narrow view, would take Echoes into the same realm as the mainstream mediums. That being fulfilling what others think the audience expects. Echoes keeps this listener always alert and often surprised. Personally, I am glad John has kept with this eclectic mix that others are to fearful to pursue.

Comment posted by
at 1/31/2008 11:47:44 AM

The acoustic-electronic mix works for me. I have always listened to and played as many different styles and genres as possible. That’s why I have been an avid Echoes fan for all these years!

Comment posted by
at 1/27/2008 11:29:27 AM

Why does anything need to change? The program has plenty of balance, and works perfectly the way it is programmed and presented. It doesn’t any more or less of anything.

Comment posted by
at 1/25/2008 1:03:16 PM

i think of it as opening doors. if you hadn’t introduced me to japancakes, i would never have made it through my bloody valentine”s “loveless”. now i appreciate both.

Comment posted by
at 2/4/2008 2:32:25 PM

The beauty of Echoes is surely its diversity? From everything I’ve seen and read about Echoes, and indeed in my direct dealings with them as a musician over the years, Echoes has maintained a great mix of acoustic-electronic music, and more. Personally, I think only those with tunnel vision see it differently.

Comment posted by
at 2/4/2008 7:05:26 PM

Your show e-c-h-o-e-s through the fabric of my life.

I rather like to think of my life as rich in variety. And, I believe all things are connected…the circle of life, the circular spectrum you speak of.

The acoustic _is_ electronic. No? (I’m steeped in the circle…) I wouldn’t even hear Echoes play the acoustic _without_ the electron-ic.

Acoustic: from the Greek: akouein to hear

I hear it all…on WMEH & WMED out of Maine. I only wish my radio station aired _both_ hours!

I love your show, John. The only radio show I listen to with real regularity.

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