Colin Andrew Sheffield & James Eck Rippie – Essential Anatomies
1.27.17 by Mike Haley
Call me a old fashioned, but I think the use of full names should be reserved for people who have assassinated a public figure (or at least attempted to), shot up a shopping mall, or some other batty shit like that. But I’m willing to give Colin Andrew Sheffield & James Eck Rippie a pass. After listening to “Essential Anatomies” I think we will all agree that they deserve it. Not because they create frantic, unhinged environments. They do just the opposite. And they do it very, very well.
Colin and James are far from strangers when it comes to collaboration. The two have been working together for over a decade, with output that includes a tape with the same title as this 48-minute gem, also released on Elevator Bath in back in 2016. This edition, recorded in Austin, Texas last year, appears to be sides 3 and 4 of what may be an ongoing series? I guess we will have to sit back and see how far they go. Processing digital and analog samples the duo lurches forward, crystallizing lucid impressions with distended, vexing ambiance. Like running your fingers through the shag carpet in Grandma’s bedroom, James Eck Rippie’s turntable sampling is chalky and thick. As snippets of sound pass, they leave behind dust and tiny strands of hair under your nails. You can almost smell the mothballs. The digital samples, which both members provide, are a fierce juxtaposition. An analogue for the digital would be more like the original appliances Grandma still has in her kitchen; Brightly colored, all orange and yellow, with indiscriminate hiss and clicks scattered about. The 1950’s GE fridge runs loud, but sometimes slams off without notice, leaving a void that you didn’t even notice was being filled until it passes. The second hand on the oven’s clock still rotates, but it’s warped metal rubs as it rounds the 12, flinging free into a vibrating, cosmic spring-out. All of this agitation melts together into an awesome sci-noir scene.
Colin Andrew Sheffield, who runs the Elevator Bath label (what exactly is an “elevator bath” by the way??) knows James Eck Rippie well. And James Eck Rippie knows Colin Andrew Sheffield well. And it shows. They play off each other’s gnarly sample-contortions perfectly on volume 2 of “Essential Anatomies.” My advice: Take one of those pastel mints out of Grandma’s candy dish, place it on your tongue, push the button that reclines the old person chair, and enjoy the ride. Both sides stretch on for just under 25 minutes with no red lights or closed roads.