Ellis Island Sound is Pete Astor (Weather Prophets, Wisdom Of Harry) and David Sheppard (State River Widening, Wisdom Of Harry etc) - two of so-called 'alternative' music's most self-effacing, yet gifted recording artists. This album collects ep, single and remix tracks from the last 4 years of their (criminally) secret history. If you ever liked Boards of Canada, Tortoise, Brian Eno (or a handful of beautuous, cultish artists) then you HAVE to investigate Ellis Island Sound. The album is all instrumental, featuring all manner of electronic/analogue percussion supporting beguiling melodies played on acoustic guitar, chirping organs, electric piano, orchestral strings and subtle electronics. It also sounds like film music of the highest order - the kind you catch on a late night foreign movie and then spend years trying to track down in obscure soundtrack shops... Highlights? The sublime opener Republica Evescarra (joy and melancholy in equal measure)- the UNBELIEVABLELY gorgeous remix of the Manic Street Preachers' Ocean Spray (best thing to bear the Manic's dubious imprint, ever!!!) and the sinuous, shimmering Ranch Stuff. But, honestly, there's not a duff track here. Album of 2002.
I recently rebought this album, having never replaced it on CD after the painful day lack of space forced me to off-load my vinyl collection. The only puzzling thing is that it has taken me so long to replace it, because I can't stop playing the damn thing!
Uplifting and melodic instrumentals that immediately conjure up sunny days and tranquil scenes. Okay, the loops are a tad dated now, but they aren't central to the overall sound and certainly don't spoil the mood.
If you like Penguin Cafe Orchestra, then Ellis Island Sound should be right up your sun-kissed street. Smile - the world isn't such a bad place after all.
Unfortunately this CD didn't light any fires for me. I expected heavenly instrumental soundtracks to make an angel weep. Instead its just a bit on the dull side of boring and failed to reveal the breadth of instruments (and comparisons) mentioned in other reviews. Ambient, instrumental, atmospheric this isn't but if you like having friends over for dinner and want something to go with a glass of wine then get stuck in. Moby for dessert ?