CD: I Am Here
Artist: Paul Ellis

From the first blips, bleeps, and filter sweeps that signaled the dawn of the synthesizer age, Paul Ellis was enchanted by the spell of their analog alchemy. In1977 he had a musical epiphany after buying copies of the classic European electronic albums by Tangerine Dream (Stratosfear}, Klaus Schulze (Mirage), Jean Michel Jarre {Oxygene}, and Tomita {Snowflakes are Dancing) within a week’s time. This proved to be a profound awakening for him as to what was possible with musical expression and the fluid, flexible tonal qualities of the newly emerging synthesizer technology.

Although the inspiration was there, synthesizers were very expensive back then, and using them to create seemed too far out of reach at the time. Paul began studying Classical, Jazz, and Folk music, later playing bass and guitar in a few rock bands, yet always dreaming of recreating that sound he heard in his head that was so uniquely tied to synthesizers.


In the mid eighties he bought his first few synths, added multi tracking, and from that point on had found his perfect expression in the world of animating electronic kaleidoscopic music, where the morphing tone colors are as important as the melody, harmony and rhythm. Paul continues to release albums in a style that blends French Impressionism, German Electronic, and American Minimalism, while forging his own unique identity in the genre. Paul was a founding member of the synth band Dweller at the Threshold and has also released a number of solo works and collaborations with artists such as Steve Roach, Craig Padilla, and many others.


Paul’s musical evolution continues to this day with the release of his latest CD, I Am Here. Contemporary sounds evoke ancient memories as this veteran musician/ composer creates an electronic music portrait inspired by the mysterious rock carvings of the Chinook Tribe of Native Americans who lived in the Columbia River Gorge 15,000 years ago. Just as they left their mark etched in stone, so Paul Ellis paints in sound from a palate that includes synthesizers, sequencers, guitar, bass, and voice.


In a recent interview, Paul talked about the album’s inspiration: “There was a moment I had coming back from central Washington a few years ago when I stopped at a vista point overlooking the Columbia River. There was an island in the river and a sign that talked about how the Chinook, Wishram, and Wapato tribes among others had used that island for gathering and trading for 15,000 years. The very thought blew me away. I suddenly got a strange feeling looking at this island. It almost felt like something of these tribes was still right there. I got a strong rush of feeling from the experience that stayed with me for quite some time. So what I mean by titling the album I Am Here is:  Here I am a 21st century white male and this is my home, and while I simultaneously feel a kinship with and respect for these tribes, I also feel an obvious disconnect. I want to honor them as best I can with this music.”


The three long form compositions on the album, two in the 20 minute range, and one almost 30 minutes in length, have a spellbinding quality, and draws favorable comparison to the electronic music artistry of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Ash Ra, and Patrick O’Hearn. While his previous release on the Spotted Peccary label received rave critical reviews Paul calls this new album: “my finest sequencer work to date.” He goes on to describe his music as creating “mesmerizing environments highly detailed, but open ended enough to allow breathing room.”


The album opens with “She Who Watches,” which is named for a large Chinook rock painting – one of the largest known pieces of rock art in North America. “She” is the tribe’s guardian who watches over her children. An expansive electronic ambience sets the stage, seeming to extend beyond time itself. Ever evolving and morphing as pulsing sequencers break the timelessness into sparkling moments. The sound field is in perpetual motion, with bass, guitar, and percussion joining in to provide forward momentum over an arrangement of lush keyboard orchestration, classic analog synthesizer tones, atmospheric textures, and otherworldly effects. I was especially impressed with Paul’s creative bass lines. Two more extended tracks follow in similar fashion, with each weaving its own unique synthesizer sound-tapestry. A stunningly artistic and well-produced 3 minute promo video for the album is available to view at this link:, and is a “must-see” introduction to Paul’s music and vision.


Fans of electronic music as well as those seeking an enchanting and entrancing listening experience will not want to miss this latest release by one of the premier artists of the genre on his musical tribute to the continuity and kinship of life on earth.