This one surprised the hell out of me. Howard Wuelfing, PR guy and music aesthete allsorts, has submitted a lot of great and unusual discs, but Jim Coleman's Trees is a bit out of even Wuelfing's usual wide range, being a full-on neoclassical ambient prog CD of surprisingly absorbing depth and layers. With Coleman hailing originally from the Cop Shoot Cop group, an odd "industrial rock" ensemble as devoted to cheeky weirdness as to offbeat music, this CD may at first seem out of place to devotees of that collab and its personnel, but, hey, a musician's a musician, and when a release is this damn good, I could care less if Tiny Tim or Don Ho composed it.
Ostensibly 10 songs, the whole is actually a long composition of 10 movements, and I'm not sure I'd cop to that either because Trees does nothing but morph in a Fripp/Eno, Klaus Schulze, Robert Schroeder, Tangerine Dream, ominous, foggy, meditative, and darkly beautiful way. The album would not have been out of place on Eno's old Obscure series, slotting in right behind Gavin Bryars, who himself likes to indulge such a protean approach every so often. French horns (Coleman), cellos (Kirsten McCord), and the human voice (Dawn McCarthy) waft in and out of solarized soundfields of keyboards and electro-acoustics, and 'exquisite' is the only adjectve that comes to mind as I glom the track Live Out.
I strongly suspect someone's using a Jupiter 6 synth here, along with everything else (I released my own cassette in the 80s and used a JP6 exclusively, as it has sounds and qualities no other synth on Earth possesses; I hear some of those here) and that, I think, merely points to the degree of thought given over to this sumptuous feast of psychedelic delights and spacey head twinges. The next release in this series—Coleman's been working in what he calls a 'cinematic electroacustic' mode for a while—will revolve around recordings of people's near-death experiences, and that too promises to be both intriguing and more than a little spooky, much as Trees is, but you needn't wait for that to dig this. Just darken the room, turn off the phone, settle into a comfortable chair, and trip out.