Following the release of his extended set of electronic gems on Christmas Eve last year, Ann Arbour producer Charles Trees once again steps into the limelight with a new EP on Madrid’s suitably eclectic Lovemonk.
Enter stage left Charles Trees, so far a pretty likeable character out of Ann Arbour, Michigan, a state that single-handedly seems to have a stronghold on our writing of late. Truth be told this post had already been half written before the full samples of his new six-track EP had even been unearthed. There was just something totally irresistible about the title track “Rootwork” which had us hooked when it turned up in our music stream on Bandcamp earlier this month (shout to Mike Guerreri on that one). A unique mix of spaced out jazz, sax, electronic badness and 303 bass lines, it’s five and a half minutes of totally original music, all twists and turns – oh and it bangs HARD. That’s Dan Bennett on baritone sax (you may have already heard his work previously as part of the band Nomo) and we presume Mr Trees on all other machinery.
Thankfully it turns out the EP isn’t just a one-tracker as the Trees has a talent for constructing slow building jams that approach the age old problem of ‘genre’ in such a haphazard way, that things just seem to end up sonically pleasing. Take “Exodus” for instance, a tune which at the start bears more than a passing resemblance to a drum circle attempting to recreate a beatdown track, before a heavy kick punctuates the groove and we go off in search of that dark corner in the disco, next to the speaker stack. “Get Advanced” is what you would call futuristic hip hop if Konono No. 1 happened to employ a DJ, Detroit rapper, poet and Egyptologist Intricate Dialect effortlessly spitting lyrics over a distorted wall of percussion and acidic stabs. Then there’s the final of Tree’s four productions here, “What’s Next”, a shimmering, celestial build that breaks out into the most delicious of synthed out boogie cuts, the aforementioned Mr Bennett returning to add a little further sax spice in the second half.
The EP is rounded off with two very different remixes from Madrid’s very own veteran techno producer DJ F and fellow Ann Arbour native Shigeto. On his “DJ F Restructure”, F strips away the organic feel of “Rootdown” and concentrates on building a fairly angular piece of house, all tripped out keys, breaks and mechanical beats, while Shigeto sets about contorting “What’s Left” into an extended 9 minute behemoth, ramping up the original’s atmospherics before unleashing a driving slab of deep techno.
The EP is out today digitally and you can download it direct via Bandcamp. There’s also a 12″ floating about in all your usual spots (always nice to know). Try before you buy below!