Album release: Home to The Invisible by Carrie Tree
Release date: 17 March 2014
Label: Wild Cedar Records
Listen: on official website
For Brighton’s Carrie Tree, 2013 was a landmark year. Having performed on the new 2000+ capacity William’s Green stage at Glastonbury Festival (along with bands like Alt-J and The Vaccines) she was also the featured artist on Andy Barlow’s (Lamb) new project ‘Lowb’, released by Distiller Records back in May. Carrie went on to appear with Lowb on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show, where they performed a cover of Portishead’s Glory Box. Carrie has toured and/or collaborated with the likes of Damien Rice, Fink, Duke Special, Rumer, Carly Simon, Ben Taylor, Martha Tilston. She has been a popular name on the UK alternative/green festival scene for several years playing regularly at festivals like Glastonbury, Sunrise, Shambala and Buddhafields, touring Europe many times; which is where we pick things up in 2014…
For her brand new album Home To The Invisible, songwriter Carrie Tree recorded in Sussex and Cornwall UK, as well as traveling to Headroom Studio's in South Africa, with the aim of compiling a sound that experimented with global instrumentation and subtle acoustic effects, whilst maintaining the intimacy, naturalness and space for which she is most noted. Linking up with members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the late Miriam Makeba’s band, their contributions to the songs Mama Kita and Thousand Days stand out on this confident set of delicate and fiercely individual songs.
Drawing on a range of influences from John Martyn, Nick Drake, The Be Good Tanya's, Iron and Wine, Joni Mitchell, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare and Ray Lamontagne, Home To The Invisible’s opening track Never Said Goodbye’s hushed delicateness is punctuated by subtle, fluttering trills on an especially sparse soundscape. Mama Kita, contrastingly, is one of the album’s showpieces. Carrie travelled to Durban, South Africa, where she stayed for 2 weeks recording with singers Albert Mazibuko from Ladysmith Black Mambazo (well known also through Paul Simon’s Graceland album) and Zamo Mbutho from Miriam Makeba's band. The track benefits from some traditional African instruments like Kora (African harp), Nyatiti, Djembe, Endingidi (traditional Ugandan tube fiddle) and also cello, fretless bass, bansuri (North Indian flute), guitar and percussion.
Taking a confident, less is more approach to both vocals and arrangement, Tree and her band play softly, the words frequently dropping to barely a whisper. The subtle electronic touches on Perfectly Cast and momentary glimpses of strings and woodwind on Sweet Oak Tree call to mind Bjork's stripped back reinvention on her album Debut, filtered through an English folk sensibility.
Elsewhere on the album, Wild Winds is bustling and lively and Water Song reminds us of Carrie’s heart-felt connection to Mother Earth, before Unfolds brings the album to a twinkling resolution. Tree, with her fragile, yet powerful, arsenal of skills is surely marked out as a songwriter to truly believe in this year.
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