Exposé Online banner

The Tunnel Singer — Undercurrents
(Tunnel Singer Records no#, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01

Undercurrents Cover art

The theme of this latest offering – the ninth from Lee Ellen Shoemaker, aka The Tunnel Singer – is various deep water undercurrents, with appropriately named titles like “Cedros Trench,” “Nares Strait,” “Euxine (Black Sea)” and so on. This release breaks with the past few by inclusion of other instrumentation besides voice and a studio simulated reverb profile of the ‘Cistern Chapel’ at Port Townsend, Washington, which she has been using off and on since her third album Water Birth (which was recorded live at the cistern). Here we have didgeridoo accompaniment on all but one of the ten tracks (courtesy of Greg High), as well as some subtle background Indian drum loops on the album’s opening cut “Barbera Zephyr,” and perhaps others. Because of the rhythmic support that the additional instrumentation provides, the vocals tend to embrace a slightly more structured melodic approach, at times even approaching vaguely familiar themes in repetition, all drenched in heavy reverb, as opposed to the more free-flowing ambient improvisational style of much of her previous work. The vocal sustain becomes intense, even a bit disorienting, at times when the long reverb mixes with the instantaneous live voice, gently touching the dissonant edges where vocalizations past and present collide and overlay. It’s good to hear Shoemaker intrepidly taking her concept into some fresh new directions.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

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

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ground Zero - Consume Red – One could say without stretching the truth too far, that Consume Red (part one of the three part Project Consume) is basically an hour of pure thrash / noise experimentation, delivered piping hot by...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues