Colin Andrew Sheffield - Images
Founded in 1998, for more than two decades the Austin, Texas, based imprint, Elevator Bath, has plumbed the American musical underground, releasing noteworthy releases by figures like Adam Pacione, Rick Reed, Bob Bellerue, Tom Recchion, Matt Shoemaker, as well as occasionally stretching further afield with albums by Masami Akita, Susana López, Merzbow, and Francisco López. Running like a spine though the output of the label is the work of Colin Andrew Sheffield, the artist who founded it all those years ago. His latest album, “Images”, stands among his most striking efforts to date. Comprising eight electroacoustic mosaics constructed from heavily edited and manipulated samples from jazz records, it entirely defies the expectations surrounding sound collage and Plunderphonics every step of the way. Issued by Elevator Bath in two beautiful editions, 200 copies on black vinyl + 100 copies on clear vinyl, inside full-color, reverse-board jackets featuring spot gloss printing, it’s yet another brilliants statement by one of the most distinct artists working in Texas today.
Colin Andrew Sheffield first appeared on the American scene during the late 1990s, while still in his early 20s. It was during this period that he launched Elevator Bath as a vehicle for the work of likeminded artists, as well as his own. Over the last two and half decades, he has released roughly a dozen and a half solo gesture that have pushed the boundaries of electronic, ambient, and electroacoustic sound, on imprints like Invisible Birds, Sinneslöschen, and Glistening Examples, as well as nearly as many albums in a longstanding duo with James Eck Rippie. Primary working with audio collage / his own distinct take of musique concrète, Sheffield deploys the act of sampling to draw hidden melodies and textures from his source material, layering fragments into harmony and disharmony to evoke an impressionistic conception of the future from the detritus of the past.
“Images”, Sheffield’s latest, is distinct through its constrained source material - having been entirely constructed from heavily edited and manipulated samples from jazz records - and methodology, primarily using only early sampling hardware. From these simple means, the scope and breadth, not to mention the character of the music itself, of the album’s eight electroacoustic pieces - meticulously composed over the course of a single year - is remarkable, nuanced and singular.
Within a groundwork that ranges from sprawling ambiences to the dissonance created by disparate tones, Sheffield interweaves fragment of drum solos, spiraling piano, bass, saxophone and trumpet into song-length explorations at the juncture of minimalism, drone, and outright noise, drawing the ear toward endless surprises locked within each work’s sense of intricate and atmospheric detail.
Truly mesmerizing and boundary pushing from its first sounding to the last, Colin Andrew Sheffield’s “Images” encounters a veteran sound artist working at the height of his abilities, sculpting sonorous landscapes laden with mystery and melancholic beauty. Issued by Elevator Bath in two beautiful editions, 200 copies on black vinyl + 100 copies on clear vinyl, inside full-color, reverse-board jackets featuring spot gloss printing, it is as highly recommended as they come.