This has been SO HARD to keep secret, especially as we've watched it take shape before our eyes these last 3 months!
For the past several years, Steph and I have really tried hard to stretch the solo/duo live looping format as far as possible, and Stephanie has taken live looping and live sound design to the next level in an effort to communicate the music as fully as we could. But the newer Earth Suite songs really demand the unique qualities of the specific musicians on the album, and moving forward we were hungry to break out of the looping box entirely. The constraints we were faced with ended up leading us to this whole new concept for what a live concert experience can be.
Partially inspired by our performances in the Boston Museum of Science and other planetariums, the PORTALS project was primarily born out of the new “Earth Suite” album, which features twelve incredible, diverse musicians from all over the globe. We're extremely proud of how the album came out, but since it's 2018 and very few people actually buy albums and listen to them anymore, (and also because we love playing live!), we've been hungry to find a way to bring this music to people in a live format. We have performed live with almost every musician on the album at some point or another, and have absolutely loved it. But a lot of the musicians on the album, and really a lot of musicians today period, are simply not in a position to go on tour for several months at a time, and even if they were, we’re just not at a level yet where we could afford to bring 12 musicians on the road.
The constraints we were faced with ended up leading us to this whole new concept for what a live concert experience can be. PORTALS, an intricate system of synchronized projections and audio clips, is our way to bring some of our favorite musicians in the world on tour with us and let more audiences enjoy their unique musical gifts; our way to allow people to see and thereby hopefully HEAR the music more completely and in more depth and detail; our way to share with people some of the beautiful and interesting landscapes we're blessed to see in our travels; to try and steer attention toward MUSIC and COLLABORATION and away from personal technical ability / persona / ego; to blow open the doors of possibility for future compositions and collaborations; to do something that is at least new and exciting to us, and maybe to everyone else too.
Now it's almost time to take it on the road and we couldn't be more excited. After a ton of boring/exciting/frustrating/patient/defeating/inspiring lonely work putting this together, we look forward VERY MUCH to seeing you out there if you're able to make it to a show!
Check out our full tour schedule: www.IanEthan.com/Concerts