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

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steven Wilson - Insurgentes – Steven Wilson has single-handedly re-shaped modern prog rock through his various bands and projects that include Porcupine Tree, No Man, Blackfield, Bass Communion, IEM, etc. So for him to take time...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues