Stuart Dempster

Underground Overlays From The Cistern Chapel

Important • 1995

Depth attracts. It can cause anxiety, but it doesn’t have to. Trombonist Stuart Dempster demonstrates this for around an hour on his 1995 album »Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel«. Stuart Dempster, one of the closest collaborators of composer Pauline Oliveros, who died in 2016, played on her classic »Deep Listening« (1989) and in her Deep Listening Band, named after the concept of the same name. The recordings for both albums were made in the same underground cistern north-west of Seattle, whose name in English sounds confusingly similar to the Sistine Chapel. Stuart Dempster brought together nine trombonists for his Underground Overlays, who vibrate a resonant fabric of sound, occasionally augmented by didgeridoo, shells and Tibetan bells. Long, drawn-out melodies gradually blur into each other, leaving slightly dissonant parts floating in space, giving way to new harmonies. Listening to it, you get the impression that this music has always been there and, above all, that it should never go away. Whether this is one of the »deepest« drone albums of all time, as the press release promises, you’ll have to find out for yourself. The depth is certainly a panacea. A very good panacea indeed.