a cleansing ascension
On the occasion of Elevator Bath's 10-year anniversary, the label has issued its first compilation release. This 73-minute compact disc is not a retrospective but is instead a collection of (almost) entirely exclusive material from 10 artists currently involved with Elevator Bath.
A Cleansing Ascension includes previously unreleased recordings from: Matt Shoemaker, Adam Pacione, Jim Haynes, Keith Berry, Rick Reed, Dale Lloyd, Colin Andrew Sheffield, James Eck Rippie, and Tom Recchion.
This is the ideal introduction to the label, offering a particularly cohesive yet varied selection of works from some of the brightest names in the experimental music community. Uneasy narrative, warm ambience, rusted drones, sine waves, field recordings, meditative composition, plus a glorious photograph on the inner sleeve (taken by Colin's father in 1971) can all be found in this single, beautiful package. Elevator Bath = A Cleansing Ascension.
As always, packaged inside two elegant, printed sleeves (this time in full color) with soy-based ink on 100% recycled paper, this compact disc has been issued in an edition of 650 copies.
- matt shoemaker waning ataraxia
- adam pacione soilbind morning glory
- jim haynes like a thief in the night
- keith berry toward the blue peninsula
- rick reed the fiery sound of light
- dale lloyd our morphosis
- colin andrew sheffield for today
- francisco lópez untitled #194
- james eck rippie hidden mirrors
- tom recchion drift tube
The compilation of the week is 'A Cleansing Ascension', which is to celebrate ten years of Elevator Bath, which bears catalogue number 040, which means an average of four releases a year. That may not seem much, but why say more if you want to say fine things? Exactly my point, there are too many mediocre releases. Elevator Bath's releases span all sorts of formats, from 7"s and LPs to CDRs and CDs. The ten artists gathered on this disc may be regarded as the current bunch 'signed' (a term not appropriate to the world of Elevator Bath, but you get my drift, I hope) to the label and it makes quite a coherent family. The pieces move along the very fine line of ambient music, sound scapes, drones and modern electronics. The exact definition of each might be hard to give, but fact is that there are vital and subtle differences between the pieces. It may require some insight to tell these differences, but they are there. None of these pieces is weak or even remotely weak, as all of them
are quite good. But there is also no track that really makes the big jump and leaps ahead of the rest. Perhaps in a showcase like this, this is also not really necessary. The ten that create this birthday bash are Matt Shoemaker, Adam Pacione, Jim Haynes, Keith Berry, Rick Reed, Dale Lloyd, Colin Andrew Sheffield, Francisco Lopez, James Eck Rippie and Tom Recchion. If this is a new label for you, then you should definitely seek it out. (FdW)
- Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
They don't make compilations like they used to; but this one from Elevator Bath is certainly an exception to that rule. A good percentage of the currently released compilations tend towards collections of impossible to find rarities (at best) or (at worst) a random assortment of tracks which never quite made it onto proper albums, so why not lump them all together on some disposable compilation with the good tracks just ending up on the iPod anyway. But there was a day when labels took the job of curating compilations very seriously with the artists rising to the task as well. One can think back to the Perspectives And Distortion comp from Cherry Red back in 1981, or the eccentric electronics on The Elephant Table Music Album, or those weird comps on United Dairies, or even 4AD's Lonely Is An Eyesore. Dare it be said that A Cleansing Ascension might be one of the few modern comps that even comes close to those seminal compilations of post-punk atmospherics and obscure experimentation.
Elevator Bath was birthed in Texas, although relocated to Seattle in 2004; and this compilation marks the 10th anniversary of the label, which has quietly and consistently released an excellent body of deep drone construction, damaged plunderphonic collage, sound ecological research, and even a few things which are down right sublime. The heavy hitters on A Cleansing Ascension are LAFMS ring-leader Tom Recchion and the globe trotting field recordist Francisco Lopez (operating here in a more musique concrete guise), with plenty of Aquarius favorites as well: Keith Berry, Adam Pacione, Matt Shoemaker, and aQ's own Jim Haynes. Shoemaker opens the album with a synthetic soaking of midrange din and drone immaculated sculpted in a blur of mottled hiss. Pacione, Keith Berry, and label boss Colin Andrew Sheffield conjure the more lush moments of Eno's Music For Airports with remarkable flare for restraint through their smoke & mirrors. Haynes does his best Organum impersonation with a cranky motor rumbling beneath a hallowed gasp of refined long-form tones. Rick Reed moves from a Delia Derbyshire squiggle into a deep reverberant belllow. The vastly under-published Dale Lloyd generates a thick rumble dappled with bristled electronics and distant Andrew Chalk-ish half melodies. James Eck Rippie turns toward a clank and clamor of found objects scraping across the patina of vinyl surface noise and Phillip Jeck stabs at turntable manipulation. Tom Recchion's maudlin lullaby reconstitutes haunted melodies of ye olde carnival into a beguiling conclusion to the compilation.
While each track is quite solid, the album also flows very well, with somber drones dominating the palette of sound although similar themes and complimentary sounds seem to return after small detours towards the heavy, the oblique, and the desolate. Highly recommended!
- Aquarius Records
Sagely practitioners of electro-stalactites that glimmer amidst pulses of hiss, flutter, and bubble, Elevator Bath here acknowledge their ten years of existence and, without dabbling in the quixotic, gather together traces of what is still yet to come. A Cleansing Ascension amounts to nothing less than a constant bath of sounds, lights, images, and movements from the likes of Matt Shoemaker, Keith Berry, Jim Haynes, Rick Reed, Dale Lloyd and Adam Pacione, to name a few. The artists on hand summon a wide breath of events that travel in material waves and which build to substantial proportions such that listener's may float on them like straws. The vast majority of tracks are previously unreleased and a good many click, spit, gurgle, and growl with subterranean menace. "Warning Ataraxia", from the aforementioned Shoemaker, knows moments of ever-heightening subterfuge, as sheets of high end debris grow more caustic and ride out on a crest of propulsive electricity. Others never entirely outstrip this basic setting, but they effectively take it up in different ways. "Untitled 149", from Francisco Lopez, drips and reverberates like a cavern deep beneath the surface of a distant planet, while Dale Lloyd's contribution features a rich, sumptuous drone that is wreathed in swooping high frequency susurrations, and which becomes ever-more frazzled for having been so rudely disturbed from its sedimental slumber. Although dystopian drones are generally the rule, warm, floating chords and temperate half-melodies, such as those that shadow Tom Recchion's "Drift Tube", appear at crucial points throughout the work so as to illuminate the stereo spectrum. The proceedings thus remain clearly in focus even while being highly vulnerable and challenging.
- Max Schaefer, e/i Magazine
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