I’ll be making a concerted effort to introduce some brand new artists over the next few weeks, and after featuring Johan Kull from Sweden on Saturday, we’ll head across to Norway next, this time for Trees Up North. His 2nd track was released on Friday and mightily impressive it is too,
Behind Trees Up North is the musician Hans Stop. Stop was born and raised on an old farm in the middle of Norway where he now resides, and it’s clearly that experience in isolation which has resulted in his powerfully expressive music, perhaps because he’s able to view the world from a detached position.
The record company notes accompanying the music explain that in a little more detail, or at least with bigger words: “Surrounded by an increasingly self-centered culture of mass consumption and alienation, he creates music that goes beyond this tyranny of shallow intimacy”. Indeed, beware that shallow intimacy.
He appears to have debuted earlier this year with ‘Greater Good’, a powerful song that builds to a huge emotionally driven climax. Released through an excellent newish label called European Phonographic it’s a really bold statement of intent. New song ‘Ladder’ is the follow up, released on Friday, and Trees up North has been explaining more about the premise of the track.
“A ladder has two different directions. The upward direction often represents progress and coveted goals a person wants to achieve. The other represents to a greater extent the unknown and foreign, as if one climbs into a darkness that hides the greatest secrets and the deepest thoughts. That someone wants to share this with you can be a blessing or a curse."
Now I don’t claim to be an expert on ladders, or in fact any type of expert on anything, but maybe he’s slightly over complicating the whole ladder / two different direction thing he’s got going on there. The ‘up’ element, yes I’m with him on that one. But I’ve always been a fairly consistent believer that the other direction is ‘down’, either by climbing or using the ‘falling’ method. Or maybe the board game ‘Snakes and Ladders’ is proof that the whole thing is way more complicated than I’ve always thought?
Anyway, about the tunes. They’re lovely. I don’t like throwing John Grant’s name around lightly, but there is a hint of his style here, both in the vocals and the melody. And I love the atmospheric guitars too, I’ve heard New Model Army and other bands of that genre use similar effective techniques. The combination therefore definitely appeals to me.
Trees Up North seems a genuinely exciting prospect, and it’s clear that he’s arrived on the scene with a clear vision and direction too, both musically and in the things he wants to say. I really look forward to future releases.
The label European Phonographic look really interesting too, with some lovely aims listed on their website. For more details about them follow the link here.