Review by Bill Whiting
EOTO’s appearance at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky on April 30 was a return for the jazzy outfit to the greater Cincinnati area after their last gig in the fall of 2010 at the 20th Century Theater. For the uninitiated, EOTO, (meaning “good sound” in Japanese), is an electronic, beat oriented duo consisting of percussionist Jason Hann and drummer Michael Travis from The String Cheese Incident. Hann has played since the age of 12, performing with a wide variety of artists, including Loreena McKinnet, Dr. Dre, Isaac Hayes and Youssou N’Dour. From the beginning of the show, it was understood by those in attendance that this was a special night. EOTO’s ability to straddle the line between live improvised notes, and tightly structured, echo driven looping rhythms was enhanced by a very large video screen, replete with a kaleidoscope of brain warping imagery. At one point, a human body appeared, quickly dissolving into it’s skeletal frame before morphing into a Pac Man, eating it’s way around to a skipped double time pulsation of reverberating hooks and sinewy guitar lines. Hann would often disguise his voice, singing in tune as staccato driven dub effects would blur the vibrations coming out of the Madison’s sound system. The consuming feedback wreaked havoc as EOTO danced dangerously close to another jam fried edge. Travis, as always, was the model of consistency, stretching out the ability to rage on several instruments at once during the course of a near three hour, two set extravaganza. Once both musical magicians hit the stage, they did not let up until the final noted pierced through the Covington building’s walls. The floor was a mass of frenzied, feverish movements, and the critical assessment was a resounding positive experience with all hoping for a return engagement from the groundbreaking, groove savvy wizards that call themselves EOTO. EOTO will be playing the Summercamp Festival in Chillcothe, IL on May 29, Wakarusa Music Festival in Ozark, AR on June 2, and the Electric Forest festival in Rothbury, MI on July 3, 2011.