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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - Hur! Hommage à la Musique de Christian Vander – On the occasion of Magma’s 40th anniversary as a band, Soleil Zeuhl has assembled this excellent tribute compilation featuring an array of artists, including several former members of the band...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues