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Dance throwdown

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EOTO (4.24.2012)
 Posted: 8:30 AM October 18, 2012

Psy-dub sorcerers Jason Hann and Michael Travis play their dubstep from the ground up — blasting sharp bass and sharper beats on real instruments without pre-programmed loops or samples — thus pushing electronic dance music into an unexplored form.

Travis and Hann — drummer and percussionist, respectively, for String Cheese Incident — formed EOTO in 2006 out of a common love of dance music.

The duo's approach takes the freewheeling vibe of a deejay set to a higher level. With their own instruments and innovative technology, EOTO moves easily between dubstep, house and psychedelic trip-hop. Live drums, guitars, keys and vocals are mixed, remixed and sampled to improvise new music for each show. The sets are recorded and released ( ) so fans can capture their unique EOTO dance throwdown.

If you go


When: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19

Where: Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St.

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Call: 800-992-8499, see or purchase tickets at Music Coop in Ashland or Bad Ass Coffee in Medford

EOTO will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and are available at Music Coop in Ashland, Bad Ass Coffee in Medford, or by calling 800-992-8499.

Because EOTO starts fresh every night, the band's natural evolution has moved into hyperspeed. Hann's drum kit is super equalized and includes musical-instrument digital-interface controllers (MIDIs) that he uses to throw a number of effects on his playing and vocal styles.

Travis takes on subsonic frequencies and generates the duo's low end with analog and digital synthesizers, occasionally picking up a guitar or bass.

"When we're playing live ... it's like playing tribal drums in a ceremony," Hann stated in a press release. "I'm looking at one person at a time out there and thinking 'What can I do to make you dance?' "

EOTO has three studio albums to its credit. Each, like its studio recordings, is mixed and mastered from one live take.

On "Elephants Only Talk Occasionally" (2006) and "Razed" (2008), EOTO bounced between house, trance and breakbeat. A big change came to the duo's sound after Hann and Travis heard English deejay and producer Skream's set at the Shambhala Music Festival in 2008 — their music evolved into a heavier, more bass-oriented sound.

On "Fire the Lazers!!!" (2009), newer material has the duo playing the buzz-saw bass and heavy, backbeat style that has become its signature sound.

Hann has toured and recorded with such artists as Youssou N'Dour, Isaac Hayes, Dr. Dre, Loreena McKennitt and String Cheese Incident — running the gamut of Latin, jazz, R&B and soul. Those experiences and his depth with African drumming traditions keep EOTO's futuristic sound rooted in the past.

Travis has been the primary drummer with String Cheese for 16 years. He morphs into a multi-instrumentalist in EOTO, playing the bass lines and harmonic tapestries that fill out the soundscapes.

Both Hann and Travis have the chops and stamina to play physically demanding, four-hour dance marathons that break down the wall between artist and audience.

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