Music

Experimental Rock's Trees Speak Summon Kosmische Sensations on 'Ohms'

On their inspiring second album, Ohms, Arizona avant-garde collective Trees Speak invoke the best of expansive electronica through motorik repetitions across a sprawling masterwork.

Ohms
Trees Speak

Soul Jazz Records

3 April 2020

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.

9
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Film

Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.

Music

Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers Head "Underwater" in New Video (premiere)

Celebrating the first anniversary of Paper Castle, folksy poppers Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers release an uplifting new video for opening track, "Underwater".

Music

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.