Category: Ambient / Experimental / Noise
Blurb: A pleasant foray into electro/acoustic soundscapes as ethereal as they are surreal, as inviting as they are disturbing.
A slow, somber shriek of violin and ambient feedback begins, lulling the listener into a comfortably discordant drone of high-pitched noise that gives way to a rhythmic pulse of percussive bass and sustained horns; thus “Sideways” begins the debut album from ex Cop Shoot Cop member Jim Coleman. Trees rests in a strange musical space, encompassing a mix of electronic textures and acoustic instrumentation to create an audio environment as warmly inviting as it is coldly detached. There is a distinctly cinematic flair to certain tracks, like “Summer Heat” with its swells of atonal horns and fluttering voices amid a dissonant bed of guitars producing a bagpipe like effect, or the glassy droplets of synth underscoring mild descending pianos on “Another Place,” evoking the more ambient moments of Vangelis score for Blade Runner. To label Trees as a drone album would be a disservice to the subtle complexity of the melodies at play, particularly on a song like “Tracks” with its Oriental feel evoked by hollow synth and plucked acoustic guitar sequences that reverberate like voices echoing down a dark cavern, a breathy of flute hovering above, while reversed twinkles of piano shimmer ghostlike amid a thrumming bass drone as voices enter and exit on “Dawn,” all in a manner reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s Passion album. “Rain” closes the album out with a melancholy saxophone, adding a bluesy noir feeling to the otherwise searing track of appropriately echoing pianos and guitars. All in all, Trees is a rather enjoyable, if somewhat monotonous listen. With collaborations from Phil Puleo, Kirsten McCord, and Bryan Christie to name a few, Jim Coleman produces a work of audio art as ethereal as it is surreal, creating a sonic habitat the gradually invites the listener in and intrigues as well as disturbs. It may not be a groundbreaking album, but Trees is pleasant if nothing else.