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Lost in the Trees — Past Life (2014) 

Lost in the Trees — Past Life (2014)

USA Flag             Lost in the Trees — Past Life
♣   Music — light as air. Atmosphere — something in between dark and light.
♣   You can found there all of it and all of this — Lost In The Trees!
♣   This band from United States, playing indie/folk interspersed with electronic sounds knows his business. After you click “play” button you slowly fading from the real world and fading in the world of their music.
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, United States
Album release: February 18, 2014
Record Label: Anti
Duration:     37:32
Tracks:
01 Excos     3:26
02 Past Life     4:09
03 Lady in White     3:52
04 Daunting Friend     2:53
05 Rites     2:58
06 Wake     3:38
07 Glass Harp     4:34
08 Sun     3:55
09 Night Walking     4:40
10 Upstairs     3:27
REVIEW
By Brian Howe | February 3, 2014 | Score 7.0
♣   Dancing is not an activity one typically associates with the North Carolina orchestral indie-folk band Lost in the Trees, a group that has traditionally been too focused on going for the emotional jugular to worry much about moving listeners’ feet.
♣   Their stolid rock drums were newly tinged with a disco tick-tock; an electronic sequencer pulsed out fleet arpeggios beneath the live musicianship. These surprising changes are reflected on fourth LP Past Life, which should still have enough sentimental grist to satisfy old fans while broadening the band’s appeal to people who prefer a little more dynamism in their dolor.
♣   Part of the reason for the change is a reduction in personnel from a sextet to a quartet, and the band also worked with an outside producer, Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Dirty Projectors), for the first time. In becoming leaner and less hermetic, Lost in the Trees seems to have freed itself from its habitual pomp. There are still the ringing guitars of indie rock, the vaporous harmonies of choral music, and the vigorous string and piano arrangements of classical. And as always, bandleader Ari Picker’s lofty tenor is a pleasure to hear, especially as it rises over the prickling guitar of album highlight “Daunting Friend”. But while it was always a stretch to call a six-piece “orchestral,” this chamber-music-sized lineup definitely sheds the excess the term might imply, and while Picker is a canny writer for strings and piano, he seems more focused on giving the songs stiff spines than frilly embroideries. The resulting music is refreshingly streamlined and direct.
♣   The atmospheric “Excos” opens the album on a familiar note, with shimmering, panning cymbals and a slow curl of piano opening out from the slightly distorted choral lines of Emma Nadeau. But the band’s new look quickly presents itself on the title track, an anthem taut with lyrical electric guitar work and a juddering electronic undercarriage. The thick, pumping bass of songs such as “Lady in White” and “Wake” introduces a facet that has seldom been heard in Lost in the Trees’ chaste music — sex — while standout deep cut “Sun” shows that they can also bring their new energy to the kind of feather-light songs on which they made their name. The lyrics still strike at grand notes: Angels zip around, light comes out of hearts, and birds, somehow, come out of eyes. But death, still lurking after the difficult memorial album A Church That Fits Our Needs, adds a newly earned gravity and wisdom to the proceedings without being the focus.
♣   Picker remains good at creating a sense of towering scale and charged atmosphere, and the heavenly light that suffuses his music takes on a more humble and terrestrial hue, for the better. Picker sounds revivified, as if he’s having more fun, and the feeling is mutual. After they’ve spent so long swirling high up in the rarified air, it’s exciting to hear Lost in the Trees planting their music so firmly in the body, their feet on the ground, tapping. Fortaken: http://pitchfork.com/
First listen:
by KATIE PRESLEY | February 09, 201411:00 PM |
♣   Lost in the Trees founder Ari Picker studied film composition at the Berklee School of Music — an alternate career path that couldn't be better suited to the music he makes now. A film composer, even more than a bandleader, creates work with a constant awareness of the audience's reaction to it, and thus has a keener sense of how to craft that reaction. The music Picker makes with his Chapel Hill collective is masterful at eliciting sweeping emotional responses, and at ensuring that a single emotion never dominates any one piece. That's what Lost in the Trees' new album, Past Life, is made of: pieces. Compositions. Studies. There isn't a catchy, single-ready song to be found, which roots Past Life solidly in the "orchestral" third of the band's oft-used "orchestral folk-pop" descriptor.
♣   In addition to his Sufjan Stevens-esque ability to create songs that seem to have sprung from his mind fully formed — complete with many perfectly synchronized moving pieces — Picker brings to his music beautiful, affecting vocals. His voice floats, which is exactly what a band called Lost in the Trees would want. It's wide-open, it fills empty spaces, it fits anywhere, it lands everywhere. He has the same kind of space in his voice that Sigur Ros' Jonsi does, but where Jonsi's made-up language lends his sound effervescence and a distinct lift, Picker's voice (and the music it joins) is omnivalent. Past Life isn't melancholy, and it isn't upbeat. It's both, and everything else besides.
♣   Lost in the Trees' previous album, 2012's A Church That Fits Our Needs, dealt devastatingly with the 2008 suicide of Picker's mother. Past Life grows beautifully out of the ashes of that record's consuming grief. Here, the songs carry in their most painful moments startling beauty, and in their sweetest notes the space for great loss. ♣   Most notable of these juxtapositions is the pairing of band member Emma Nadeau's heart-stopping operatic soprano with her own discordant, eerie piano work in "Night Walker." Even the song's title is murky: Is it a romantic ode to holding hands in the dark, or is it menacing?
♣   Picker said in a recent interview that he wanted Past Life to construct a sound-world with as few ingredients as possible. The number of possible stories each piece on the album could tell is proof of his success. Just because a room (or song) is stark, that doesn't mean it's empty. "All I want is your heart / All I ever want is your heart," he sings plaintively in "Excos." It's a deceptively simple ask from a deceptively simple band. (http://www.npr.org/)
Artist Biography by William Ruhlmann
♣   Lost in the Trees is the brainchild of singer/guitarist Ari Picker, a Chapel Hill native who started his career as a member of the B-Sides. Picker's studies at the Berklee College of Music led him to attempt an orchestral effort, and he adopted the moniker Lost in the Trees for the project. After assembling a small group of musicians, he recorded a folk-influenced EP, Time Taunts Me, and released it on Trekky Records in early 2007. Schoolwork prevented him from touring in support of the EP's release, though, and Picker didn't return to the Lost in Trees project until 2008, when he graduated from Berklee and moved back to North Carolina.
♣   Picker began putting together a new lineup for his band, calling upon several members of the Trekky Records crew as well as the University of North Carolina's orchestra program to help him out. Once formed, the group recorded All Alone in an Empty House, a lush sophomore album that featured strings, horns, and full orchestration. The record was released in 2008 and reissued two years later, following the group's signing with Anti- Records. The band's sophomore outing, 2012's evocative A Church That Fits Our Needs, served as a musical tribute to Picker's mother, who took her own life in 2009. The group's third long-player, Past Life, followed in early 2014.
Discography:
♣   2007 Time Taunts Me (Trekky Records)
♣   2008 All Alone in an Empty House (Anti / Trekky Records)
♣   2012 A Church That Fits Our Needs (Anti)
♣   2014 Past Life (Anti)
Website: http://www.lostinthetrees.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/lost-in-the-trees
Twitter: https://twitter.com/littband
Tumblr: http://lostinthetrees.tumblr.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/officiallosttrees
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lostinthetrees
Press: Hilary Okun | hilary@epitaph.com
Agent: Amy Butterer | butterer@billions.com
Gen. dir.: Martin Anderson | martin@middlewestmgmt.com
Photo by DL Anderson
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Lost in the Trees — Past Life (2014)

 

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