Steamboat’s Ghost Ranch looks for success with electronic shows
March 11, 2011
Steamboat Springs — End of Time Observatory has been playing together for five years and has yet to write a single song.
While Michael Travis and Jason Hann, who make up the electronic duo, practice with their main project jam band The String Cheese Incident for days on end, their side project doesn't usually come up until the two percussionists take the stage as EOTO.
"We're jumping off a cliff every night," Hann said Thursday.
As the electronic music trend surges in Colorado and beyond, the two have taken improvisational electronic music to its brink: It's not possible to be any more spontaneous than literally making up every beat, every sound and every groove in the instant it's played on stage during any of their 750 live shows.
"It's not that we put them in a different order, or we don't know the songs we're going to play," Hann said. "There are no songs. That's the fun part about it.
"At its basic form, we just want people to groove their butts off. They don't have to watch us: They can just close their eyes and groove in their own dance spot."
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And it doesn't have to be a traditional weekend night to groove at Ghost Ranch Saloon, where EOTO will perform at 9 p.m. Monday.
In addition, Ott, a U.K.-based electronic music producer, will play Sunday night with downtempo producer Phutureprimitive, of Portland, Ore.
Tickets for Ott are $10, and $15 for EOTO.
Amy Garris, Ghost Ranch Saloon co-owner, said the music venue is trying to book with the trends, and judging by recent successful electronic shows, including a Tuesday night in February with producer Emancipator and a Sunday night in January with electronic duo Big Gigantic, it's clear what the crowds are like.
"I had never really heard of (Big Gigantic) before, but we had so much buzz about the show early on, so we started thinking it was going to be a big one," she said. "Sure enough, it just hit."
She said she expects Sunday's and Monday's shows to produce more off-night success because the staff members keep their ears to the ground.
"There are some bands we really like, but in general we sort of just have a group of the younger generation here that we just pick their brains constantly," she said.
Hann said he thinks the growing American electronic music trend is gaining speed as members of the younger generation dig into their parents' pockets to see shows and festivals, taking with them a childhood full of produced and programmed pop music.
"They don't have that distinction between live music and programmed music," he said. So it fits that Hann and Travis combine produced beats and organic sounds, with Hann on drums, vocals and electronic production equipment, and Travis exercising his multi-instrumental prowess on guitar, bass and keyboards.
"It's pretty A.D.D. up there," Hann said.
Ott takes a more traditional electronic approach as a lone producer on stage, but he tries to avoid genre designations like the "psy-trance" label he has acquired on the European scene.
As a laptop player — using Ableton Live software — he said he has a hard time explaining what he does to customs officers when he travels to the U.S.
But he thinks there's no explaining to do except with the music he creates and how it affects those in the crowd.
"They can stand still with their hoods up as far as I'm concerned," said Ott, who isn't known by any other name. "I personally don't dance at concerts. I'm dancing on the inside. Some music is designed to make your body move, some is designed to make your brain move and some is designed to make it all move."
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