Ellen Band

Two Ships

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Here is an unexpected collaboration whose work sounds surprisingly natural. Academic electro-acoustic composer Ellen Band usually works with field recordings. Self-taught sound maverick David Lee Myers is known for his complex self-sufficient feedbacking systems. Their Two Ships sail admirably well side by side, accompanying each other into new seas. The album consists of three extended pieces (indexed in a number of seguing parts). Each one creates a sound world that is resolutely aquatic -- a quality both artists agreed on after the fact, as they explain in the liner notes. Myers' long tones always weave a certain shroud of mystery, and Band obviously decided to build over that, often choosing sounds evoking underwater life. There are exceptions -- the metal-on-metal of train brakes in "Laventiya Bay," for instance -- but they are usually subdued by a quick return to shades of blue. Entirely improvised (a type of collaboration Myers rarely performs), the music evokes the feedback artist's work with Tod Dockstader (Pond, for the nature recordings) and with Asmus Tietchens (for the deep integration of different sound worlds). "Ualen Lagoon" and "Cape Uiqven" are particularly striking. They flow naturally, Band's sound banks always attuned to Myers' delicate loops. "Laventiya Bay" offers a rougher ride, train sounds invading the picture, creating harsher contrasts -- a welcome change of pace in the last stage of the album. Two Ships is a fascinating experience in immersive listening. It portrays Ellen Band's work in a much more sensual, lifelike fashion than her rather clinical solo CD 90% Post Consumer Sound.

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