Monday, November 27, 2006

Aquarius Records review of The Tree People

Johan of Tiliqua Records has now placed The Tree People reissue CD with an additional distributer, Aquarius Records of San Francisco, They have a huge mailing list worldwide of some 100,000 people. Here is their review:

TREE PEOPLE, THE s/t (Tiliqua)
Not to be confused with Doug Martsch's amazing nineties outfit, the Treepeople, -these- Tree People are equally amazing, but are a whole different proposition.
This disc was originally released as a super limited lp way back in 1979 and managed to quietly disappear. Now, here we are nearly three decades later, and whattaya know? There's a whole movement of modern free folk, 'freak' folk and the like, and if you didn't know better, pretty sure we could pass this off as some strange super limited cd-r by some modern folk revivalists. But keen ears would certainly be able to tell. This is so entirely original (especially for the time) and genuine sounding. Mostly acoustic guitars, flute and vocals, the Tree People had two distinct sounds, the first, a lilting melancholy moonlit folk, like Cat Stevens or Van Morrison, a gorgeous lazy drawl, rich and lustrous, over simple folk and fluttering flutes, dreamy and gorgeous, sounding like some lost folk classic one minute, a strange "Girl From Ipanema" style shuffle the next. But even at it's sweetest and softest, the record seems to always have a hint of melancholy, sometimes even a trace of ominous foreboding. Which definitely gives the songs a subtly dark undercurrent. The majority of the record however is spent in full on hippy jam mode. Very Comus-like at times (especially on track two, "Sliding"), wild steel string excursions, dense tangles of fingerpicked melodies and aggressive strummed riffs, with a definite raga like vibe, all over a smattering of hand drums and tablas, a glorious drifting buzzing steel string dronefolk, that just sounds so incredibly timeless. Elsewhere, the same jams evolve into more tranquil acoustic dreaminess, with the flutes floating over sweet lilting melodies, but even then, the songs will be peppered with sudden bursts of buzzing slide guitar, or brief squalls of atonal fingerpicking. SO cool. And considering the current love of all things freaky and folky, it's sort of amazing that stuff like this was already being made 27 years ago!
Obviously, fans of the current crop of modern folk troubadours will find this absolutely essential, Devandra, Vetiver, Espers, Newsom, whatever your particular poison, the Tree People will fit in frighteningly well. Hard to say whether it speaks to the prescience of the Tree People, or just to how much these modern bands have actually been 'borrowing'. Either way, this is absolutely essential.
Packaged in a super deluxe Japanese miniature gatefold style cd sleeve, with a printed obi, and extensive liner notes in English and Japanese!


Atall said...

Hi. Really loving the record! It reminds me a bit of the Lucianio Cilio dell'Universo Assente at times. do you know that one?

Did you do anything else??

Stephen Cohen said...

I'm glad you like the record! I have never heard the Lucianio Cilio dell'Universo Assente but I will see if I can find it.
We did a second recording, Human Voices, in 1984, which will be released by Tiliqua Records later this spring. You can follow the progress of
that reissue on future postings on this blog.

thanks, Stephen