1. Echo System [16:13] MP3 soundclip of Echo System [3:00]
  2. Windy Plains [7:16]
  3. Writing on Water [8:07] MP3 soundclip of Writing on Water [3:00]
  4. Shanti [10:30]
  5. Shadowlands [7:41]
  6. Everybody's Sky [7:58] MP3 soundclip of Everybody`s sky [3:00]
  7. Death of an ARP [14:13]
An incredible collaboration by Craig Padilla and Paul Ellis.
This CD began to take form two years ago and is finally in the finishing stages!! Hypnotic and spacey sequences and mysterious melodies create an awesome "cinematic experience!"

2003. Craig Padilla Composed and recorded with famous Northwestern Electronic Music Master, Paul Ellis, and released on the Groove Unlimited label, this landmark recording reveals itself in stunning emotional complexity. Collaborations by artists at this level frequently produces amazing results, but this disc achieves a pinnacle of quality that makes it stand out in relation to other masterworks of electronic musical expression.

2004. Skip Murphy / USA This collaboration is rooted in the love of classic Euro-German 70's synth music and the desire to keep the fire burning today. Like Paul Ellis's inspired solo work, this doesn't stand in the imitative shadow of great works of the past, but draws inspiration from them. The pieces have a nice live feel and playful quality, with resonate sequences and pulsing melodic forms throughout. It feels good in the ears, and like the best electronic music it lights up the imagination and stimulates the brain in interesting ways.

2004. Steve Roach I'm a fan of traveling to beautiful places and EM has been part of my journeys for over 20 years. Occasionally the trip and music seem to become inseparatable in my memory. Echo System did just that on my trip to Yosemite with my son this weekend.

Even though I had several new CD's in my 6 CD changer, I returned over and over to the intricate sequences and melodies of ES. ES fit very well with my goal of being emerged in the awesome beauty of the valleys spring time waterfest(falls) and spellbinding panorama of Glacier point.
What I like about ES is the organicness of the sound, sequences slowly bubbling up from depths and melodies dancing about. ES only got better the louder I turned it up.
I kept thinking of one of my EM favorites, Planetary Unfolding by Michael Stearns.
I still remember the clear moonless Redrock desert night where I absorbed a cassette of Planetary Unfolding. I like ES even better, ES did not seem dark to me like a lot of retro berlin school I listen to. ES fit very well with the daytime forest drive into the valley and up to glacier point. I love nature and often seek oneness with its amazing variety of perfection. Its not that I can't enjoy the works of man, there are many examples where mankind impresses me, Echo System is one of those. I hope you all get together and play again.

Someday I'll make it up to enjoy the NW again and would love to hear you all play.
Please keep us posted on your concert dates. Thanks Paul, Craig and Groove.

2004. Steve T. Whitely Paul Ellis and Craig Padilla are two of the top sequencer and Berlin school electronicians in the new millennium. They began a collaboration in 2002. That project was put to the wayside when Craig's wife gave birth to their first child.

WHOA! Echo Systems arrived this year (2004)! This is a great CD! It is, without a doubt, one of the top ten sequencer space music albums of all time! Craig and Paul combine analog and digital synths, sequencers, chorale effects, rhythms, crunches, delays, atmospheres and every manner of processing technique to create magnificent soundscapes that are outer space! The music is the adventure! It is the journey!
Interestingly, Paul and Craig assume no responsibility for unaligned charkas's. This disc is, however, a real rarity. This is Berlin school sequenced meditation music. Veterans of the e-music community - performers, listeners, reviewers and friends - will recognize the juxtaposition of those terms and styles. Sequences do not generally lend themselves to overtones and meditation.

This disc is an exceptional CD with qualities that make it an instant legend! It also places Paul and Craig in the perpendicular universe - rare territory for Berlin schoolers!
2004 continues to yield outstanding music!

2004. Jim Brenholts I had the privilege of sharing a drink and casual conversation with Paul and Craig and their spouses at a French restaurant in Portland, Oregon one sunny weekend afternoon a couple of years ago. Craig made the trek up from Redding, California for the sole purpose of sharing musical ideas with Paul.
Later, Paul gave me a CDR of some of their ideas that came out of those sessions, and I was excited by what I heard.
Then I waited. And waited. And waited some more.

I have to say, the finished product Echo System was worth the wait. Paul brings his unique vision of EM with a different sonic palette and wider range of musical tastes than most. Craig brings his strong classic space music skills. Together they are a winning combination.
The title track dances leisurely around, nimbly blending flutes, sequences, xylopohone, and a variety of other sounds in a way that is decidedly electronic and anything but derivative.
Well, okay, "Windy Plains" does sound a fair amount like Klaus Schulze.
And there is a way cool sequencer that chugs along in "Writing on Water".
But those are starting points only, not the be all and the end all.
Sometimes I hear individual influences, such as Paul’s looping synth phrase in "Shanti" and Craig’s energetic sequence in "Everybody’s Sky", but often the by product is something fresh and new.

Echo System is a treat.

2004. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space This release from 2004 offers 72 minutes of enjoyable electronic music.

Languidly shimmering textures drift overhead while vibrant electronics emerge to lend a melodic disposition to the flow. Power builds as the sequences cascade from loops into sonic diversification. A rich repertoire of sounds is employed to create this music, driving the tuneage with versatile propulsion and engaging elements.
Gradually, a rhythmic presence appears, generated from surging electronic pulsations rather than from beats. These non-impact tempos serve to lift the music into a sashaying ascension that sparkles with abundant variance. Altitudes are achieved through a determined see-sawing motion that often defies notice. The listener's attention is riveted by the liquid quality of the electronics. Fresh riffs surface with determined regularity, refusing to let the compositions become redundant. A plethora of appealing melodies swing into audibility, cavort and gyrate for the entertainment of all, before surrendering the air to the next wave of mesmerizing harmonics.
Echoes play a subtle role in this music, formulating foundations which are then embellished by the musicians. Often, these echoes divert from their ricochet paths to evolve into lusher forms of the bouncing patterns. Alert guidance is constantly tweaking the music's fluid course, generating entrancing variations which build to further surprises.
And yet, despite the constantly changing nature of these compositions, the tunes remain stable and coherent, true to their initial mood. Elevation and expansion are simulated through elaborate layering, resulting in a deceptive elongation of time.

This type of electronic music does not grow old; in fact, it reveals more and more of itself with each subsequent listening.

2004. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity Joining their different focuses of Space Music, Paul Ellis and Craig Padilla shape a collection of themes where the listener can appreciate the contribution of each one of them, as well as the result of the combination of different working techniques.
Here they offer us a tightly-vowen symphony, brimming with intense colors and kaleidoscopic shades. The slow passages turn out to be wondrous, almost baroque in their conception.
The rhythms are mostly of a medium speed, very complex, and with branches entering the melodic part, often merging with it.
In conclusion, an excellent album that will appeal to the followers of Space Music.

2004. Edgar Kogler I never knew about this music until about a month or so ago when I was observing the stars through a telescope at our club observatory. At that time I didn't even know this type of music even existed. Then our local public radio station, which plays mostly jazz music, was playing a program called "Hearts of Space" which is where I heard this music for the first time. My first thought was WOW - THIS IS REALLY AWESOME MUSIC!
"Echo System" is now one of my most prized CD's in my rather short repertoire of music. This music is food for my soul. It takes me on a new journey every time I listen. It seems to move and flow in one direction, then changing direction to another. It allows the listener to listen to it in a different way every time you play it.
Paul Ellis and Craig Padilla have given us all a gift of true musical genius. I would highly recommend "Echo System" to anyone who has any interest at all in music as a whole. The simplicity of the movements as well as the melodies in this collection give me the sensation of tranquility. I now use this music to observe the stars, to perform CAD drafting at home, and to enjoy some peaceful time with my family.
If one closes their eyes, and listens to this music, you will truly not be disappointed!

2004. Alan Atwood / USA One small step for Paul & Craig, one giant leap for mankind.
If you look up into the nightime sky, you will see the brilliance and beauty of starfire as it once was, long ago. Echo System is a reflection of that same light, the music of farway places, otherwordly sights, carrying the listener to the edge of forever and beyond.
This music is what Dave Bowman must have heard when travelling thru the Monolith, when he said 'My God, its full of stars!' - that's how it makes me feel and I am eternally grateful to Paul & Craig for the journey.
James T. Kirk - "Of my friend Paul I can only say this - of all the music I have encountered in my EM travels, his was the most ..... genius"

2004. Christopher Chamberlain / USA Like anything that Paul Ellis is involved in (such as Dweller At The Threshold & his solo work) this album, a collaboration with Craig Padilla, takes those well-used teutonic elements but, rather than slavishly sticking to the accepted norms of this style as so many do is not afraid to take the music onto somewhere new.

I have to say I'm unfamiliar with Padilla's work so I'm unable to say if any of the music here brings his own style to bear but, without wanting to give Ellis all the credit, the deep bassy chords that herald the opening of the title track (& the album itself) as well as the fluid sequencing that soon follows does seem to have his trademark feel along with his knack for laying down some impressive atmospherics which is another plus point that is used to good effect here.
This promising premise is built up well through the application of thoughtful sequencer lines & melodic motifs whilst managing to maintain that all-important feeling of atmosphere through the use of appropriate & sometimes surprising sounds, which, along with touches such as the expressive sequencing that graces "Writing On Water" is what good electronic music is all about.
It would be overdoing it to call this album truly revolutionary but it's refreshing to hear two musicians at work who are prepared to add something that little bit different to their music with "Windy Plains" emphasising the music's atmospheric properties, sounding appropriately windblown in the process.
"Shanti" is a pleasant enough but ultimately uninspiring affair that, for it's 10 minute duration, doesn't really do much although the slight feeling of tension that "Shadowlands" hints at stops it from being a some aimless cosmic workout.
"Everybody's Sky" soon gets proceedings back on track, though, with some purposeful & urgent sequencing that still sounds slightly different from the norm (and which doesn't overdo things at just under 8 minutes duration either) before "Death Of An ARP" reprises the, by now flowing style of sequencing that is a characteristic of this album &, due to the simple fact that they actually do change keys pretty regularly, proves an enjoyable listen before the melodic closing section proves the duo's talents most forcefully.

Again the duo's more individual approach to the use of sounds & textures is what makes the music the succes it is, elevating the album above many of it's contemporaries & marking both artists out as important names to remember for the future.

2004. Carl Jenkinson This release stands out from the spate of Berlin style sequenced music that is released on a consistent basis by this and other labels. The musicians have forged a winning formula, combining soft ambient pads with many short rhythmic sequences and executing the style with a clear sense of enjoyment and confidence that is communicated to the listener.

The recording opens with "Echo System", the longest track. Some floating pads open the piece, sounding for all the world like a vintage Berlin school piece. The sequences that follow are lively and imaginative, the main difference between these and others I have spent time listening to lately appear to be that each sequence is firmly rooted in the blues scale, there is much delay used, and the motives introduced in the sequences are short. The sequences continually change timbre, tone and the range of pitch to keep the listener's interest and a nice, relaxed, exploratory prog-rock mood is created, circa mid- '70s electronic music. New sequences and timbres, often simply constructed ,constantly dance in and out of the mix. The rhythmic focus continually and subtly shifts. Key changes maintain harmonic interest and are well timed. This track contained all the virtues of the recording in microcosm and constituted an excellent start to the collection.
"Windy Plains" is a shorter and less ambitious piece, staring with some wind sounds and progressing to a motoric, repeated note sequence that uses much delay and overlap with other 2 or 3 note sequences to produce its effect. The harmony and pad sounds are fairly static. The piece recalled, for me, the vast panoramas found in the more desolate plains of Kansas and Nebraska.
"Writing On Water" begins tentatively, but quickly becomes a percolating swirl of abstract consonance. 2 sequences emerge, one high pitched, one lower sounding. However, the piece remains quiet and drifts across the listener's consciousness before a ricocheting simple motive establishes a pulse. Pads and wind sounds softly whisper below the main pulse. Gradually, they are mixed up as distant bell-like sounds begin to chime. Other sequences interlock with the pulse and the piece creeps slowly forward. The piece is all the better for the fact that a constant pulse is only established late in the game.
"Shanti" begins with what sounds like a solo improvised melody using a nice synth square wave patch. The melody sounds like one of those you might hear on a Native American flute. This introduces once of the nicest, simplest Berlin sequences I have heard since I started listening. The haunting refrain fades in and out through the piece and is paired with more rhythmic sounds for contrast. Some of these short percussive sounds state or suggest melodies and the magic begins. A standout track, that caused much comment when played for friends or in the office.
"Shadowlands" follows, with a nice space pad intro with lots of whooshing and creative use of panning, Sequences and a foundation or structure for the piece are absent, a nice contrast, as this piece relies on a relaxing echoey harmonic progression and pad sounds, together with shorter echoes. This piece is most effective while visualizing or actually looking at the night sky.
The piece fades into "Everybody's Sky", which opens with processed vocal samples that sound like signals received form a distant radio station. The mood alters when long sweeps are introduced over a throbbing drone as short motivees echo up and down the tonal spectrum. This is followed by the fastest, most aggressive sequence on the recording. A slow modal melody plays as the sequence gathers momentum. A percussive sequenced sound becomes a companion to the main sequence and gradually becomes a secondary focus of the music. Meanwhile, there are many panned filter improvisations to keep the listeners attention. The unusually structured piece staggers to a close with a drone "outro" that mirrors the intro, including the recap of the "sky voices" that began the piece.
The final piece, "Death of an ARP", begins with another wining, catchy, simple sequence that anchors the gurgling madness that shimmers around it. This piece is similar in structure to the opener and is the second longest on the recording. Frequent shifts in tonal emphasis make the piece more appealing to me, and the shifts are often reminiscent of rock or blues progressions. Here there are again multiple sequences, many just as catchy as the opener and well-presented in a way that propels the piece. The piece offers a short and poignant mood change in the latter half, that again uses imaginative sequences that are presented to their best advantage with good sound design. This is a highlight in a recording that does not want for highlights.

It is difficult to see how I can keep this one off my best of the year list. I favor this recording over any of the solo output I have heard form either artist and I would strongly encourage them to follow this up.

2004. Mark Morton The sleeve notes to this album say: "The creators of Echo System assume no responsibility for unaligned chakras". Good to be warned! ;-)
Paul Ellis and Craig Padilla are among the top US synthesists on the scene today and on "Echo System" they have crafted an intense improvised blend of Electronic Music that often relies on heavy sequences and intricate atmospheres.

The title track gets things going with a a brief introduction after which a lot of echoing (no pun intended) sequences appear that just keep mutating and changing over the course of the composition. It's a long epic that's refreshing and involving - I really enjoyed it. Great for fans of sequencer music. The intense, full sound that one comes to expect from someone like Paul Ellis is perfectly on show here.
Not surprisingly, "Windy Plains" features electronic wind sounds serving as the background to melodic sequencing and fluently synth lead sounds. Very moody.
"Writing On Water" has some barely heard rhythmic bass throb in the beginning which is soon added by various synths and subtle pads. From the 2:20 mark a sequence is heard that never dominates, instead complimenting the other elements nicely. Then another, more upbeat sequence is introduced that's still not in your face, serving more as the background. It's a reflective and soothing number with some subtle Mellotron string flashes from time to time.
"Shanti" initially features reflective solo synth part but soon a brief string section appears which gives way to a laid-back sequence that suddenly goes down the scale, turning into a lower-register pulse. Needless to say it's all very cool, very tasty. The track doesn't stay still, sequences changing, replacing each other and finally settling into a groove. If the idea of a slow, improvised, sequential synthesizer jam appeals to you, I think you will find this to your liking.
"Shadowlands" is all about reverbed synths, effects and atmospheres. Great cosmic track that lets you mind travel to places unknown.
"Everybody's Sky" is a strange track in that it features a prominent sequence that just seems to be at odds with the rest of the sounds or perhaps it just has this rough, disjointed nature that makes me think that way.
The long closing number, called "Death of an ARP" has all necessary ingredients to make it a classic of contemporary Berlin School, from sequences, to atmospheres and soloing, that makes use of a very warm, symphonic analog timbre. Also of note is the masterful and effective use of key changes. It's a multi-part cosmic track in the best traditions of the genre.

Overall, "Echo System" provides you with a healthy dose of sequences, atmospheres and delicious synth programming. Berlin School fans take note!

2004. Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music This is a NEW 2004 release on Europe's Groove label. Two electronic artists from the western US, Craig Padilla and Paul Ellis, join forces to create 72 minutes of enjoyable electronic music.
ECHO SYSTEM is clearly inspired by the classic 70's electronic synth masters (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, etc.) However, rather than simply imitating the pioneers, Padilla and Ellis draw inspiration from them, infusing their own distinct styles, and adding depth and interest to an all too often two-dimensional musical form.
Craig and Paul spent two years fine-tuning ECHO SYSTEM, and it is sure to appeal to long time fans of electronic music.
Definitely a must for fans of Padilla or Ellis' previous works, and a great introduction to those discovering either of them for the first time.

2005. Spotted Peccary Like anything that Paul Ellis is involved in (such as Dweller At The Threshold & his solo work) this album, a collaboration with Craig Padilla, takes those well-used Teutonic elements but, rather than slavishly sticking to the accepted norms of this style as so many do is not afraid to take the music onto somewhere new.

I have to say I'm unfamiliar with Padilla's work so I'm unable to say if any of the music here brings his own style to bear but, without wanting to give Ellis all the credit, the deep bassy chords that herald the opening of the title track (& the album itself) as well as the fluid sequencing that soon follows does seem to have his trademark feel along with his knack for laying down some impressive atmospherics which is another plus point that is used to good effect here.
This promising premise is built up well through the application of thoughtful sequencer lines & melodic motifs whilst managing to maintain that all-important feeling of atmosphere through the use of appropriate & sometimes surprising sounds, which, along with touches such as the expressive sequencing that graces "Writing On Water" is what good electronic music is all about.
It would be overdoing it to call this album truly revolutionary but it's refreshing to hear two musicians at work who are prepared to add something that little bit different to their music with "Windy Plains" emphasizing the music's atmospheric properties, sounding appropriately windblown in the process.
"Shanti" is a pleasant enough but ultimately uninspiring affair that, for it's 10 minute duration, doesn't really do much although the slight feeling of tension that "Shadowlands" hints at stops it from being a some aimless cosmic workout.
"Everybody's Sky" soon gets proceedings back on track, though, with some purposeful & urgent sequencing that still sounds slightly different from the norm (and which doesn't overdo things at just under 8 minutes duration either) before "Death Of An ARP" reprises the, by now flowing style of sequencing that is a characteristic of this album &, due to the simple fact that they actually do change keys pretty regularly, proves an enjoyable listen before the melodic closing section proves the duo's talents most forcefully.

Again the duo's more individual approach to the use of sounds & textures is what makes the music the success it is, elevating the album above many of it's contemporaries & marking both artists out as important names to remember for the future.

Mick Garlick Echo System is the superb album that emerged from the collaboration of two great American EM artists, Craig Padilla and Paul Ellis. From the wonderful opening track Echo System through to the final and in my opinion absolute classic track, Death of an Arp, this is modern Berlin School masterpiece, and every self respecting EM fan should have it in their collection. It's original, fresh, beautiful, atmospheric, moving and just simply fantastic.
A lot of the album is very cool and chilled out, but it's so full of beautiful and interesting sounds, atmospheres and melodies you'll be absolutely riveted. Lovely sequencer passages abound throughout the album, but it's not until track 6, Everybody's Sky, that they are truly unleashed to much enjoyable effect.
Craig has posted his diary notes detailing the history of the making of the album on Paul's website, and they make for a really interesting read. You will discover facts like the track title, Death of an Arp, came about due to that actual event occurring during the recording of the track.
There is a humorous disclaimer in the liner notes of the album, referring to the possibility that one's subtle energy systems may be disrupted by listening to this album. I think there should be a serious one, warning of the possibility of becoming addicted to it, so brilliant it is.

2006. Roy Jackson / UK