Radium/Table of the Elements
James Elliott is rapidly emerging as one of the most versatile voices in contemporary music. He collaborates with Benjamin Curtis (ex-Secret Machines); his band School of Seven Bells is making a big splash in the rock realm (David Bowie recently invited them to perform at his High Line festival in New York); and as co-founder of the acclaimed Antiopic label, he has produced works by avant heavy-hitters, including Alvin Lucier.
Now he presents Nightly, the latest work from his solo project, Ateleia. In it, Elliott artfully evokes the humid krautrock of Popol Vuh within a whirlpool of lush minimalism, nimble electronica and digital psychedelia. Nightly is a voyage up a primeval river of sound within a steaming jungle of invisible detail—where the ultimate destination is forever out of reach.
“Church-bell sonorities stretch impossibly, buzzing like distant hornets; insistent tones swarm like a Terry Riley mantra. Striking a middle ground between Fennesz and the austere minimalism of Dion Workman and Rosy Parlane, Elliott carves out a niche all his own.”
Time Out New York
“Elliott’s thrumming soundscapes approach the idea of song in a manner not unlike My Bloody Valentine’s mid-song feedback deconstructions, keeping the form as suggestion while reveling in the more sensual aspects of sound”
“Those of you who enjoyed Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series of releases will no doubt be intrigued by the blend of sound on offer here—this music is deep, sincere, and very carefully measured.”
“The careful shape of Ateleia’s formalist approach recalls Laika and Spiritualized, though Elliott clearly serves a louder, more aggressive muse.”
“Elliott’s music is quietly, hypnotically gorgeous.”
Ateleia and Benjamin Curtis
Guitar Series Vol. III
Table of the Elements
Phono LP, laser etching, clear vinyl
Illustration by Savage Pencil
On Baghdad Batterie, Ateleia and Benjamin Curtis fuse splendidly, as perfectly synchronized audio alchemists, and when they dip their axes in a vat of liquid electronica, the transmutation is complete: thick, glistening beats throb and undulate, without a tell-tale twang in sight. Baghdad Batterie is a fabulous piece of laptop psychedelia, and certain to delight fans of Curtis and Elliott’s previous collaboration, the exhilarating School of Seven Bells EP, Face to Face on High Places.
Jonathan Kane’s February
Collections of Colonies of Bees
School of Seven Bells
Melissa St. Pierre*
Radium/Table of the Elements
Compact disc, poster/Phono LP, white vinyl, 4/C labels, posters
For fifteen years, Table of the Elements has been the preeminent source of avant audio, championing minimal, improvised, and outsider musics of various spots and stripes. Now, as its influence radiates outward, the label presents Radium, its “rock” imprint, showcased here with Impala Eardrums, A Radium Sampler. While minimalist legend Rhys Chatham leads the way with a delightful unreleased piece from his mid-80s archives, most of the other contributors are younger folks, from a new generation of performers. It’s a diverse bunch, ranging from the raw Americana of Megafaun and Jonathan Kane, to the humid, pulsating krautrock of Ateleia and the spectral songcraft of Paul Duncan. Neptune serves up its version of home forged proto-clangor, while Collections of Colonies of Bees and School of Seven Bells pour forth in glistening, shimmering waves. Together, these eight tracks — all previously unreleased on CD — have one thing in common: a resolute will to march headlong into the untamed brambles and briar patches of 21st-century sound.
“Table of the Elements was established in 1993, and since then has released some of the most gorgeous looking and most aurally intriguing releases to grace the music scene. Providing a home to such artists as the hugely respected avant-garde violinist Tony Conrad, harpist Zeena Parkins, Krautrock kings Faust, Sonic Youth mainman Thurston Moore, guitar god Loren Connors, Japanese noise merchant Keiji Haino, British weird-folk lynchpin Richard Youngs and the late Derek Bailey among many, many others, it is pretty easy to see the kind of influence they have had. Fifteen years on and the label shows no signs of letting up. Without Table of the Elements the world would be a far duller place.”
“This philosophy of risk works because everyone associated with the label feels like they’re doing important work, releasing important records, and they’re willing to go for broke to make it happen.”
“Table of the Elements are fearless purveyors of the wildest stuff around.”
New York Times
“A national treasure.”
Ateleia is Brooklyn resident James Elliott. His music combines crystalline pulse with submerged aquatic drones and subtle ghost melodies. It's not so much oceanic as tidal pool—the churn of teaming impulse, captured in miniature and crawling with activity. Evoking the grand echo of My Bloody Valentine and the long-standing tradition of psychedelic minimalism, but informed by contemporary electronic music, Formal Sleep is truly immersive. Featuring contributions by David Grubbs (Gastr del Sol), David Daniell (Rhys Chatham, Jonathan Kane), Jon Philpot (Bear in Heaven) and Sadek Bazaraa (Bear in Heaven).
"[Ateleia's] music becomes a relentless emotional disturbance, liable to create a complexity made of pleasure and unsteadiness..."