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

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

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jade Warrior - Now – Jade Warrior is one of those musical enigmas that has been nearly impossible to pigeonhole. Founder members Jon Field and vocalist Glyn Havard resurrected the band in 2007 meeting up after a long...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues