I’m a sucker for a good album cover, and my intuition about the art rarely leads me astray. I saw an ad on Facebook for this new Trees Speak album. The album art hypnotized me, to say the least. Turns out, the music is great, too! The album is called PostHuman and it released on May 21st through Soul Jazz Records.
Trees Speak is a mysterious project. Oh, we know their names, being Daniel Martin Diaz and Damian Diaz of Arizona, USA. But I can’t really find any pictures of them, and their albums are always accompanied by a plethora of psychedelic and surreal art. Yet, their music is even more enigmatic.
The duo makes music that honestly doesn’t have a genre. It’s prog rock (sort of), but also electronica in the German vein of things. It has cinematic qualities (especially 60s and 70s scores), but also subtlety, starkness, and texture. You’ll hear plenty of bleep-bloops, weeeeerrrrs, and gloop gloops; you will hear pealing guitars and sax in the distance, organic machinations, and unnerving reverberations. But the strange accents and the arid atmosphere don’t define the sound, if you know what I mean. The music is an abstract form of electro-rock, maybe, and there are moments of heavy drumming and bassy grooves, but the album plays like a progressive electronic piece. Add to that the sounds of post-apocalyptic, Western ideas, plus some tracks that remind me of 60s Canterbury prog rock or early psychedelic Pink Floyd.
Trees Speak is more than instrumental music, though. The duo has a story in mind, of sorts. And it relates directly to their name. The vision here is that humanity is gone, and future technologies store information and data in trees and plants, almost like organic hard drives. In this way, the trees speak and communicate to each other. It’s a strange idea, but a riveting one, and it makes the atmosphere of this album sound alien, though it is possibly more “terrestrial” than human beings themselves.
The album has eighteen tracks; yes, eighteen. Most of them are only two or three minutes long at most, though. This album reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd’s The Endless River, not in sound necessarily, but in the structure. The album brings smaller pieces and ideas together into a cohesive whole, and it is extremely difficult to highlight any one part. In fact, the promo for this record came with two files marked “Side A” and “Side B”, so singling out individual tracks isn’t really what the band is wanting. It is one flowing experience.
I will say, though, that I think “Side B” is the stronger of the two. The first half seems to have more rock and crazy sax vibes, and also more of a beat, and while I do enjoy that, the second half flows like liquid. It has some super textured moments and ambient auras. Some of the most spine-tingling moments are here. I especially like the last few tracks with their stunning electronic loops and eerie keys. The end of the album revisits the Canterbury style, too, which is one of my favorite parts of this album overall.
Trees Speak has an interesting and unique album for us. I think anyone listening would pick out different moments that perk their interest, and those moments last but a few minutes, and then are gone. Even the most satisfying melodies or rhythms last a couple minutes at most. But the entire experience comes together well, and it feels like visiting another world for a short time. The album certainly ends more quickly than I expect each and every time. I think that is a good thing.
Find Trees Speak online: