Ian Ethan Case: The Circle
Acoustic Double-Neck Guitarist Ian Ethan began a journey into truly uncharted territory when he picked up this seldom-seen 18-string instrument in 2005, two years after leaving the Berklee College of Music. While most who venture to play the instrument are either baffled by or unaware of the possibilities that it offers (its history seems to peg it as more of a grandiose stage prop than a valid musical tool), for him it is simply “the most effective and intuitive means I’ve found to translate into sound the things I’m hearing in my head.”
Drawing on a diverse musical background that saw him learning piano, drums, saxophone, electric guitar and bass beginning at the age of five, Ian Ethan’s strikingly-unconventional, self-invented approach to the double-neck guitar is both baffling and mesmerizing to behold. And while his performances are visually intriguing to say the least, it is not showmanship but rather the sincere desire to accurately communicate the harmonically rich, multi-layered music of his composing (or “discovery”, as he prefers to refer to the process) that has impelled him every step of the way.
At times intensely percussive and complex rhythmically, Ian’s music is just as often spacious, delicate, and melodic, pulling listeners along with him Into Open Land (the title of his 2008 debut.) Today his performances take this already multi-faceted, three-dimensional sound and multiply it exponentially with his very careful, intentional, and musical employment of an electronic looping device which allows him to record, layer, and re-orchestrate the phrases that he plays live. Multiple simultaneous melodies, rhythms, and harmonies weave in and out of eachother, often re-emerging slightly transformed in a subsequent piece until all of the ideas seem to merge into one grand realization of connectivity.