Underground Overlays From The Cistern Chapel

Dempster, Stuart

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Dempster, Stuart

Underground Overlays From The Cistern Chapel


, Playing time 61:51 minutes

Track List:

Publisher No.:
(1995) New Albion - NA076

When Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis emerged from a 185' underground water cistern with DEEP LISTENING in 1989, they gave ambient music an instant classic. The cistern, which is essentially a huge, circular hall, displays a most unusual acoustic phenomena: it provides a startlingly clear reverb that lasts something like 45 seconds, with nary hint of slap echo. The result, as "The Deep Listening Band" found, is that during improvisation, the space itself would carry notes in a manner that allowed it to be played like an instrument that was integral to the performance. DEEP LISTENING is one of the most eerie acoustic albums I've heard, and if you didn't know that it was performed on such mundane instruments as a trombone, accordion and didjeridu, you'd think it was conjured up electronically. Actually, I remember that very little post-production mixing was done on the four, drawn out tracks at all. The band returned in 1991 for THE READYMADE BOOMERANG, an equally remarkable album. Now Stuart Dempster has returned to the "Cistern Chapel" for a ecording focusing on the haunting sound of the ambient trombone, this time joined by nine master students who collaborate with him, playing to the space. Unlike BOOMERANG, this is every bit as powerful as the original, possibly because the instrumentation is so simple. Playing either trombone, didj' or conch shell, Dempster keeps the music elegantly simple reminiscent of his early release, IN THE GREAT ABBEY OF CLEMENT VI, and his collaborators follow his lead. Whether in brief cuts like "Conch Calling" or the extended cut featuring Tibetan cymbals ("Melodic Communion"), the Dempster plays to the space like an old friend, a master musician on his own Stradivari. The musicians build ambience upon ambience, horn melding with horn, until the multilayered sound becomes a single, immense resonance.

Copyright 1997 by John Morfit - All Rights Reserved