Welcome to my blog!

UPDATE: Mediafire have suspended my account and locked my downloads. Having endured the tedium of re-uploading everything I had previously hosted on Mega Upload onto Mediafire earlier this year, I can't be arsed re-uploading everything again.

So please don't ask for things to be reuploaded!

I undertake this venture knowing that I don't have the spare time to do it, but feel that these artists NEED TO BE HEARD (please excuse my shouting!). Or is that I think I need to be heard? Or that there are (or have been) some great music blogs that have inspired me to wanna jump on the bandwagon? Probably all of the above??I hope you enjoy the blog. If I turn one person onto these bands that turned me on then it will all have been worth it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Arbouretum - Rites of Uncovering

I started this blog with the idea of introducing some of my favourite bands to people that may not have heard them. I also hoped my enthusiasm for these bands may lead people to download the albums and consequently get turned on to them. However, I'm starting to feel like an obituary writer! These are bands that used to exist. That shoulda been huge.

This post is a little different, as Arbouretum are still alive and kicking - they are about to release their fourth album The Gathering. So it's up to you, kids, to put them in their rightful place and make them huge. Let's start the make Arbouretum huge movement right here and now!

Arbouretum was formed by vocalist/guitarist Dave Heumann, best known for his collaborations with Bonnie Prince Billy. Between their first (Long Live the Well-Doer) and third (Song of the Pearl) albums, Arbouretum evolved from a solo project showcasing Heumann's guitar heroics to a band showcasing the skills of all four members. Rites of Uncovering, the bands second album, captures the mid-point of this evolution.

Although Arbouretum have no obvious musical forefathers, their potent mix of elemental blues, folk, gospel and psychedelia sounds distinctive yet familiar. They remind me of early Nick Cave and the bad seeds, particularly the period from From Her to Eternity, to Kicking against the Pricks, where they were exploring roots music. They also remind me of Neil Young (and Crazy Horse), in that their songs exhibit the sparseness of Cortez the Killer and Danger Bird from Zuma, while the guitar work, particularly the long and mesmerising guitar solos, are reminiscent of those from Everyone knows this is nowhere. Arbouretum could perhaps (lazily) be described as a (much) more musical adventurous Bonnie Prince Billy. But these descriptions are a disservice - Arboretum are their own entity. They defy conventional song structures, and let the songs evolve organically. They strip away all unnecessary instrumentation - less is definitely more in this case.

The album features three epic songs. Pale Rider blues is elemental blues. It starts subdued and atmospheric, at funeral pace, and builds slowly over eight minutes, featuring a great guitar solo that takes you on a journey. Sleep of Shiloath follows a similar path. During the guitar solo, the drums and bass begin a meandering journey, with the bass occasionally following the guitar solo. This is the sort of musical telepathy most bands can only dream of, and produces a pleasantly disconcerting effect for the listener, akin to floating in space! The Rise features two verses. The first verse features vocals and mid-tempo drums, with a great groove and a kick like a mule, followed by a lengthy instrumental passage, with another great guitar solo. The second verse features only vocals and a muted electric guitar played through a weatherbeaten and crackling amplifier, followed by an atmospheric sonic collage of guitar soloing, feedback, and random drum parts. Over ten minutes of genius!

The remaining tracks are shorter but no less effective. Signposts and instruments is a dark and ominous opener, sparse, funeral paced, and with sinister vocals and a great guitar tone. Tonights a jewel features folky arpeggiated guitar picking. Mohammed's hex and bounty steps up the pace (a little), with the higher pitched vocals giving the song a joyous gospel feel. Two Moons has a similar feel, featuring only percussion and vocals.

An exceptional album - in my opinion, nothing less than the best album released in the last five years!!

Arbouretum - 2007 - Rites of uncovering

1. Signposts and instruments
2. Tonights a jewel
3. Pale Rider Blues
4. Ghosts of here and there
5. Sleep of Shiloath
6. Mohammed's hex and bounty
7. The Rise
8. Two moons

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3


  1. Damn right. Best band in the world, can't believe they basically played pubs on the UK tour, they should be headlining at Glastonbury. WHAT'S WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

  2. Couldn't agree more anon! So much so I had to convince myself that I didn't actually make that comment myself!!

  3. a huge thank,
    have you hear "Covered In Leaves" ?

  4. *heard
    "The Gathering" is obsessive !

  5. Yeah douxεε, I've heard The Gathering, and it's excellent - but I'd rather not put it up on this site as I feel a bit nervous posting recent releases.