Exposé Online banner

The Tunnel Singer — Beyond Stillness
(Tunnel Singer Records LES 0007, 2008, CD)

The Tunnel Singer — Dreams without Words
(Tunnel Singer Records LES 0008, 2009, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01

Beyond Stillness Cover artDreams without Words Cover art

The Tunnel Singer is Lee Ellen Shoemaker, San Francisco based vocalizer with a long string of releases to her credit, most employing nothing but her voice and lots and lots of reverb, either through recording on-location at sites (tunnels, cisterns, etc.) that feature unique natural reverb patterns, as was the case with her earlier albums, or through electronically captured reverberation patterns of these locations processed in a recording studio, as is the case with these latest two releases. Frankly, I’ve listened to her earlier third album, Water Birth (1999), a hundred times if I’ve listened to it once, which was recorded live at the “cistern chapel” (as she calls it) at Port Townsend, Washington, and I cannot tell the difference in the sound between that and these latest two releases which were recorded using electronically created profiles of the same location. It’s as real as being there. Voices layer and combine to create dense waves of intersecting slow moving melodic and harmonic structures, shimmering and floating in free space, and eventually decaying into darkness as new voice parts are constantly being brought to life, replenishing those that have faded. The difference between these two releases is subtle, Beyond Stillness being more of brighter colors and harmonic luminance, much like the aforementioned Water Birth, whereas her latest Dreams without Words tends to be more multi-layered, higher density, darker, and occasionally dissonant. Those interested in the artist and the processes she uses should check out our interview with the in issue #21, but understanding those processes is not a prerequisite to enjoying the results, which can be heard on her website, although for the most stunning result nothing even comes close to the CD medium with a great set of headphones in a darkened room.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2008 releases, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): The Tunnel Singer (Lee Ellen Shoemaker)

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Herbe Rouge - Herbe Rouge – This progressive group is of the sort that could only come from France in the 70s where a distinctive and idiosyncratic form of weirdness flourished. Like many of their progressive compatriots, Herbe...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues