has been said about The Jewelled Antler Collective, the fertile womb
from which Thuja emits its primordial ooze, and of Thuja itself. A
loose-knit assembly of like minded sound ecologists who study the
connections between their immediate environment and the music created
by its players, Jewelled Antler claims a multitude of music makers in
its orbit - Blithe Sons, Skygreen Leopards, Franciscan Hobbies being
just a mere cross-section. Thuja, however, remains one of the earliest
and best-known incarnations. Steven R. Smith (solo, Mirza, Hala
Strana), Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Mirza, Franciscan Hobbies
etc), Loren Chase (Id Battery, etc), and Rob Reger (Franciscan Hobbies,
etc) coalesce interests in field recordings, found sound,
experimentalism, folk and psychedelic rock (among others) to weave
seriously detailed and immense journeys into pure sound. Thuja's albums
on Emperor Jones, tUMULT, and a host of CDRs showcase their
idiosyncratic improvisations in varying degrees, but none go deeper to
the core of perception as does Pine Cone Temples, Thuja's darkest and most sensitive exploration of inner and outer space to date.
By incorporating real-time recordings of natural sounds from their
particular surroundings, the four members of Thuja play off each other
and the space they inhabit with impeccable instinct, succeeding in
creating eerie yet strikingly melodic compositions. The end result is a
total immersion of the senses, for both the player and the listener.
Across the grand expanse of Pine Cone Temple's two discs,
implements such as piano, guitars, percussion, and well-placed contact
mics are blended like pigments to conjure the subtlest of sonics,
pulling every lost drop of their immediate universe into floating and
buzzing cinematics. Minimalist hues are brush-stroked into being and
slowly unfurl into the atmosphere. Improvised clouds of sound softly
erupt to form compositions of such immense and precise detail, it would
seem the music was written out rather than spontaneously developed.
Such is the magic of Thuja and their uncanny ability to sculpt
microscopic psychedelia from their immediate environment and collective
consciousness. Assembled from recordings that span 1999-2004 and housed in lovely double gatefold cardboard packaging, Pine Cone Temples documents the most organic and beautiful ambience Thuja has conjured to date.