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Water Birth by The Tunnel Singer - Lee Ellen Shoemaker
Water Birth Wind and Wire Review (October 1999) This CD from The Tunnel Singer - Lee Ellen Shoemaker is amazing! Recording her ethereal vocalizing in an old cistern with a forty-five second reverb effect, Lee Ellen has produced something so beautiful and so chilling that I'm at a loss for the words to describe it. Lee Ellen is possessed of a powerfully emotive voice. Combine that with the reverb effect and what you have is (as was the case with Jim Cole and Spectral Voices on their release, Coalescence) something almost transcendental in its effect on the listener. I can't imagine listening to this as background music. It just begs to be immersed in. I'd wager listening to it on headphones (or, better yet, in the dark on a great speaker system) is a cathartic experience. I'm not gonna try to describe this or single out favorite songs. Lee Ellen's singing should not be confused with Tibetan overtone or Tuvan throat singing (although it has elements of both at times). It is, instead, pure and crystalline and filtered only by the rich sonorous echoes of the cistern. Okay, I said I wouldn't talk about individual cuts, but Remembrance is...my goodness, it is incredible! Those notes of Lee Ellen's just hang there, slowly evaporating and leaving behind these ripples of persistence that go on forever. The mood of the music is, by turns, reverential, celebratory, and yet also serene and meditative. It's surprising how non-monotonous this is, when you realize it is just Lee Ellen and her wonderful voice. This is one of those rare recordings that I really want to spend time with. There is so much nuance and subtlety here that a casual listening will simply be inadequate. Water Birth is music distilled to its essence, i.e., an artist and her talent, undiluted by any artifice. Without taking anything away from artists who use instrumentality or technology, the sheer wonder of this recording is a joy to behold. That the music on this CD is from a human voice alone, aided only by the physics of echo and reverb, is something very special. - Bill Binkelman - copyright 1999 WIND AND WIRE Bill Binkelman Editor and Publisher of WIND AND WIRE The Magazine of New Instrumental Music --Bill Binkelman Editor and Publisher of WIND AND WIRE The Magazine of New Instrumental Music
The Tunnel Singer, Lee Ellen Shoemaker finds spaces where sound waves move in harmony and uniformity. She uses vocal improvisation to unify even random sounds, creating instruments from tunnels, stairwells and parking garages. She invents a tonal language of emotional content that is universally understood. Shoemaker's recordings have no special effects. Each is recorded live with natural long acoustic reverberation. She improvises using the space as an instrument to explore the harmonics of her reflected voice.