Thursday 19 September 2013


Yo yo yo yo. How are you? Good, me too. So I was sent some info that included a link to this song, 'Demons', a while ago and I was pretty surprised at the originality at work in the sounds. It's by Tree, real name Oliver Tree Nickell and features beats and noises from experimental pop music-maker, Beat Culture, as well as vocals from Lena Kuhn. I still haven't heard much about these guys, though I did just google Lena Kuhn and found that a lot of other music blogs wrote about this song already. Boo-hoo poor me I'm so lazy.

It's from Tree's debut EP also called Demons, released on Apollo Records late August. I listened to all of it and really liked it, but it turns out that I like this song the most out of all of them. It's a really good song that leaks an atmosphere of angst and anxiety all over the shop. There's such a glistening array of noises present here that it's kinda impossible to listen all the way through and not like at least one thing about the song. But the star of the show is Tree's voice, I'd say, but it's the mix of everything that gives the end result. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I guess? Lol?

Anyway, it begins with some languishingly strummed guitar that's augmented by this haunting whistling-wind kinda sound. Starting quiet and then in rumbles some hefty bass and the skeleton of a beat whose snare crashes like distant ships running aground in a pitch black night, whose hi-hat glitches like a neurotic clock. Emotion seeps in with grey flights of ever-falling strings, thickening later on in the song with something more cello-like. It's a sophisticated atmospheric composition where bright loses to dark in an emotive murk of sounds.

The vocals from Mr Tree himself are pretty spectacular as well. It's kinda like rapping, kinda like spoken word, kinda like singing. His words teem with emotion, not just in the near-twisted aggressive way he spits the lines as if them being in his mouth is leaving too sour a taste, like he's gotta get them out, but also in the words themselves. The lyrics are morbid and paranoid and are littered to references to demons and "the self". Some that stick in my head: "Sometimes I look at who I am in the mirror and forget / Sometimes I return home to demons on my doorstep / Just let me be / I want you to leave / Sometimes I get so suffocated I could barely breathe" and "I knew that it was time to go face to face with demons from my last life" and the chorus refrain "Sometimes it's easier pretending that you're somebody you're not". All conjure the sense of different parts of a person wrestling with themselves, the frustration of defining yourself to yourself. And the backing vocals from Lena Kuhn give everything a spooky, near-schizophrenic vibe - a quite beautiful effect if I may say so.

A real surprise. Dark, experimental, brimming with emotion... What will come next. I don't know. Watch & see.

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