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

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Michael Angelo Batio - Hands without Shadows – Chicago's Michael Angelo Batio is a big name in heavy metal guitar, though he's never risen to the level of a Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. His claims to fame include patents and awards, though the...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues