Boomkat Product Review:
The breathtaking expanse of ’In The Sea’ was the 1987 follow-up to Ellen Fullman’s groundbreaking classic of 1985, ‘The Long String Instrument’. Only ever available on a hard-to-find tape, this is its necessary first ever reissue.
Collapsing millennia of musical practice and research into a singular sound, Fullman’s 2nd recording of her self-built instrument engulfs the senses in unfathomably complex overtones generated by 25m-long strings which are tuned to Just Intonation and played with rosined hands. Ellen’s sound effectively bridges the deeply mysterious sound of Indian classical music and the kind of contemporary minimalism explored by Ellen Arkbro and Kali Malone, and should be sought out by any listeners seeking sonic transcendence.
“Ellen Fullman began developing The Long String Instrument in her St. Paul, Minnesota studio in 1980 and moved to Brooklyn the following year. Inspired by composer and instrument builder Harry Partch, Fullman’s large-scale work creates droning, organ-like overtones that are as unique in the world of sound as her vision of the instrument itself.
Along with her 1985 debut album – appropriately titled The Long String Instrument – Fullman’s only output in the 1980s would be two self-released cassettes, In The Sea and Work For Four Players And 90 Strings, recorded in 1987 at an unfinished office tower in Austin, Texas. This double LP collection features music from both cassettes as well as a previously unreleased piece from 1988 at De Fabriek in Den Bosch, Holland.
Ethereal and exquisitely paced, these rare recordings capture minimalism's quiet radiance. Within a musical landscape that has seen the rise of contemporary drone practitioners like Ellen Arkbro and Kali Malone, Fullman is sure to find a legion of fans.”