COLIN ANDREW SHEFFIELD & JAMES ECK RIPPIE “Essential Anatomies” C48 (Elevator Bath)

Essential Anatomies moves slowly – each side is about 23 minutes of unbroken programming trickery that comes at ambient drift without the all-purpose synthesizer as its weapon of choice. Sounds and tones are processed by Colin Andrew Sheffield and James Eck Rippie, Austinites, my age, firm believers in academic representation of music composition. Just like me! Well, when I’m not having a blast with my LL Cool J collection on those warm summer afternoons. Perhaps Sheffield and Rippie hang out on their porch, too, jamming to some cool tunes, breeze blowing stray notes down the sidewalk. But today is not that kind of day – today is one of those days when the jazz trio you were listening to at lunch has melted into the pavement by the time you leave work because they’ve been out in the sun too long.  That’s side B for you. Side A is approach, reentry, and burnup in the atmosphere. So essentially, even though Sheffield and Rippie compose these sides with a clinical eye – “essential anatomies”? Please, it doesn’t get clinical-er – the heat generated from their work is undeniably present. Thought you were going to get the cold reaches of the cosmos here? Think again, headphone dude – it’s almost all friction, and friction produces heat. Enough friction melts you down into the base elements. Essential Anatomies is unbroken, unending, slow-cooked friction that causes molecular breakdown (from the heat) from the inside out until you’re an unfortunate husk. Kind of like a terrible illness from the X-Files or something! But pleasant. Did I get that across clearly enough? Essential Anatomies pleasant. Don’t call it a comeback.

--Ryan Masteller