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Ellen Band & David Lee Myers - Two Ships (Downtown Music Gallery)::

Band/Myers - Two ShipsELLEN BAND / DAVID LEE MYERS - Two Ships (Pogus 21035) This is an intriguing collaboration between two very different sound artists. Ellen Band's work is created for performance and sound installations and deals with the psychoacoustic properties of sound, often from environmental sources. David Lee Myers used to record under the name Arcane Device, has invented and plays his own "feedback machine".

David has collaborated with Asmus Teichens and Tod Dockstader in recent years. There three long pieces on this disc, each fascinating in different ways. "Valen Lagoon" has a few layers of feedback drones and waves blended with slowed down ghost-like blurbs. Static, wind blowing and water sounds recorded beneath the surface, like a radar detecting equipment or sonar. Considering one of the main ingredients here is looped feedback, this collaboration rarely gets into that area where the electronic sounds are too alien and unnerving. "Cape Uiquen" has a calm center but there are layers of high-pitched static, an organ(ic) drone and selective bursts of noise. The combinations of sounds is delicately placed on a soft cushion of swirling electrons. A boiling tea-kettle whistles slowly over a sinister repeating throb...Sounds mutate and turn into something different. Bowed metal, flocks of birds, distant backwards voices, ritualistic percussion sounds, pulsating squiggles, elegant eruptions. "Laventiya Bay" is peaceful, sublime electronic meditations, mesmerizing waves washing over us, spirits flickering, howling slowly getting more dense, eerie bowed-cymbal like electronics, back to more high-pitched static nerve-endings, eventually sailing into early Tangerine Dream or Ashra Temple-like space. A well-balanced journey to the spheres.—Bruce Lee Gallanter

I have come to trust discs put out on the Pogus label as if they arrive bearing a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, and their latest release, a collaboration between Ellen Band and David Lee Myers, is no letdown. Myer's synthetic sound world meets the more organic sonic stylings (was that a kettle whistle mixed in there?) that fascinates Band, and together the two have come up with some striking ambient soundscapes. Valen Lagoon, a glassy, tinkling, Pied-Piper of a piece, is a disc highlight, leading the listener down into a hypnotic netherworld.—MS (New Music Box

Ellen Band & David Lee Myers - TWO SHIPS: Well, when these 2 pass in the night, they cause sonic disturbances of Titanic proportions... not the crash & burn style that many improv listeners are so used to these days, more like alien crickets on speed (in some sections). Highly electronic sculptures of sound that are shaped to draw your ears in &
hold on to them for awhile... do not think that once you start listening, you'll be able to just "shut if off"... HIGHLY doubtful. For that reason, I must advise that you listen to this with headphones on when you have a full 50 minutes to dedicate to the experience. Ellen seems to be more the "sculptor", with David (who also performs as "Arcane Device") as the electronic "anchorman"... the two weave dreams very well, though, & you'll hear their radars bleeping each other
clearly as they pass through the dark seas together. I hear a lot of SETI sounds in here, too... I've no doubt that if certain aliens hear the signals being generated here, we will be invaded within a 1/2 light year. The sonics are dense and rich, very enjoyable indeed. I give this a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any/all who want more than bubblegum or "smooth" listening. .— Rotcod Zzaj

We need more collaborations like this. David Lee Myers, aka Arcane Device, has worked with the likes of Asmus Tietchens and Tod Dockstader using feedback machines that recall the kinetic sculpture of Yaacov Agam and Scott Konzelmann, while Ellen Band, from the more academic world of Mills College, got a write-up in Playboy for 90% Post-Consumer Sound (XI) and was commissioned to do an installation at Logan International Airport in Boston. Given the track record of Arcane Device one might expect this to be an overpowering slab of sound, but it's far more measured, nearly polite. In his frank and informative liners, Myers mentions the “aquatic” nature of the recordings, which are, as he puts it, “an interplay between blending and contrast”. Shortwave crackles morph into swarms of annoying summer nits or hiccuping butterflies; life changes as one constantly-cracking ice-floe is exchanged for an increasingly smaller one; attenuated kettle whistles meet repetitive harpsichord figurations, birdsong, cochlea-tickling bass tones, locomotives and bad-acid-trip tinklings. A surprisingly gentle album. Cover star: the south shore of the East Siberian Sea.—DC, Paris Transatlantic

Since David Lee Myers returned to the world of music, he has also picked up on a number of collaborative projects, such as his fourth work with Asmus Tietchens, works with Thomas Dimuzio and Vidna Obmana aswell as 'Pond' with Tod Dockstader (which sadly enough didn't make it to these pages). Here he teams up with Ellen Band, whose '90% Post Consumer Sound' was reviewed in Vital Weekly 265. She hails from the more 'serious' circles of music (whatever that may be) and works mainly with field recordings, such as railroad signs and central heating system. Myers still opts for the use of feedback sound and his background is more underground. There was a time that he was known as Arcane Device, just in case that may ring a few bells. It's a bit unclear how this material was generated, but reading between the lines I came to think that this is the result of playing and improvising live together. Myers with his feedback machines and Band with her selection of field recordings, some processed and some raw. Her bird calls and insect choirs come close
to the pure and synthetic world of Myers. There are three tracks here, each divided in several cuts, but they make quite a uniform whole. It's also possible to regard this as one piece, rather than three or twelve (the number of tracks on the CD). It's minimal, with slow changing scenes, but it works on an intense level, or rather multiple levels. A pretty strong collaboration of underground and overground blending together. —(FdW), Vital

Past Feature Article: If, Bwana / Al Margolis featured in UK's Wire Magazine
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