Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Trees Speak ‎– OHMS (2020)

Style: Krautrock, Post-Punk, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Soul Jazz Records

01.   Soul Sequencer
02.   Nitrous Cross
03.   Shadow Circuit
04.   Blame Shifter
05.   Spirit Duplicator
06.   Nobody Knows
07.   Sadness In Wires
08.   State Of Clear
09.   Sleep Crime
10.   Knowing
11.   Splendid Sun
12.   Ohms
13.   Out Of View
14.   Psychic Wounds
15.   Silicone Emotions
16.   Octave Cycle
17.   Witch Wound

Artwork, Cover – Alex Kuno
Producer – Trees Speak

There is an issue with regards attempting to describe the peculiar noise of Trees Speak, as generic shorthand terms like "drone", '"imaginary soundtracks", and "psychedelia" appear disingenuous and reductive in the face of music that's tantalizingly elusive and frequently difficult to pigeon-hole.

Trees Speak are a creative nexus, hailing from Tucson and led by the visual artist Daniel Martin Diaz, who excel at a gloriously dense, giddy, and translucent type of instrumental music. Their sound anchors itself to the meditative glow and vintage mood-scape of prime movers in the orbit of the 1970's avant-garde whilst illuminating a synthesis between the earth, the cosmos, and the heavens. As serene as it's spooky, it's best consumed as one sprawling piece, with your eyes closed.

Their sophomore album, Ohms, is a delicious helping of woozy momentum stitched together from immersion in ominous synth lines, cyclical structures, and spooked psychedelic vibes. Evidently in thrall to art-house horror soundtracks as much as the space-age folk of the 1970s, Ohms spins numerous sonic plates with aplomb. This album is flecked with echoes of Italian Giallo, John Carpenter, Silver Apples, and murky sci-fi as it nods to fellow crate-diggers such as Beak and Emeralds.

"Soul Sequencer" commences proceedings with its insistent Neu! pulse and droning keyboards. That, in turn, leads to the alluring dream-scape of "Nitrous Cross", a playful bachelor-pad miniature which carries intimations of the fairytale hauntology of the Ghost Box label. The enveloping analog reverie of "Shadow Circuit" takes the menacing synths of Fabio Frizzi and imparts the cinematic elan and seething sense of eerie you might hear on the score for Stranger Things. Throughout the record is a resounding and rejoicing marriage of execution and mood, typified by pulsating melody and enthralling post-rock cadences.

It's not all bucolic awe and bubbling arpeggios, though. The spindly "Sadness in Wires" is propelled by a slinky post-punk groove, and "Nobody Knows" bludgeons the listener with a visceral assault of abstract musique concrete. "Sleep Crime" navigates an enticing daydream between free jazz squall and the languid wash of ambient, and "Spirit Duplicator" approaches the zithering synth clouds of Oneohtrix Point Never.

Ohms opts for a shimmering sky gaze psychedelia which prizes the crepuscular fog of a waking fever dream over strictly linear development and orthodox song structure. That refines and twists the band's mercurial, incantatory hymns into enterprising and monolithic shapes that snuggle close to monumental hypnagogia.
Michael Sumsion / popMATTERS

Trees Speak ‎– Shadow Forms (2020)

 Genre: Electronic, Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Soul Jazz Records

01.   Large Array
02.   Tear Kisser
03.   Those Who Know
04.   Transforming
05.   Automat
06.   False Ego
07.   Communication
08.   Crystal System
09.   Agonize Signal
10.   Magick Knives
11.   Shadow Forms

"Trees Speak’s new album ‘Shadow Forms’ is a blend of 1970s German electronic and ‘motorik’ Krautrock instrumentals (think Harmonia, Can, Cluster, Popul Vuh, Neu!), haunting and powerful 1960s and 1970s soundtracks (think Italian prog rock Goblin and John Carpenter horror movies, Morricone and existential John Barry spy movies), together with a New York no wave electronic synth and guitar analogue DIY-ness (think Suicide, anything on Soul Jazz’s ‘New York Noise’ series or Eno’s ‘No New York’). 

Trees Speak segue together all these elements into ‘Shadow Forms’, which follows on from their criticallyacclaimed debut album ‘Ohms,’ released on Soul Jazz Records less than six months ago. Trees Speak are Daniel Martin Diaz and Damian Diaz from Tucson, Arizona and their music often draws on the cosmic night-time magic of Arizona’s natural desert landscapes. ‘Trees Speak’ relates to the idea of future technologies storing information and data in trees and plants - using mthem as hard drives - and the idea that Trees communicate collectively."