MAJESTIC return to record for Sweden’s preeminent heavy-weather minimalists, or what’s left of ‘em. Träden is the latest incarnation, or descendent, of the group mind that first assembled under the name Pärson Sound, morphed into International Harvester around ’68, and then settled into a long stretch as Träd, Gras Och Stenar (Trees, Grass & Stones) - their aim to “find a music with potential to transform the senses, a music that could make way for the new world order.”
We all know that when veteran groups hit the studio in game pursuit of The Old Magic, things usually goes tits-up. Not so here. This perhaps has a lot to do with the purity and potency of the Träd mission, but also to do with personnel: long-serving (since ’71) TGOS psychonaut Jakob Sjoholm is backed up here by young disciples Hanna Ostergren, Sigge Krantz and Reine Fiske, who bring a certain vigour and freshness to things, sure, but also (it seems to us) the puritanical stuckist zeal of the true fan. Like Annie with her sledgehamer, they're not about to allow Sjoholm, let alone themselves, to sully Träd's godlike reputation and, more to the point, they know what WE want, because, well, THEY ARE WE.
What an incredible album they've pulled out of the hat. Even at its most fanatically repetitive, monged-out and elliptical (the late Thomas Gartz isn't the only TGOS member to have pointed out the band's affinity with experimental techno + trance musics), there's a humble, pastoral quality to these carefully harnessed improvisations. It's music bound to landscape, in tune with the environment, honouring Träd's foundational dream of making sound suitable for a modern nature religion: mysterious, hypnotic, ego-dissolving, effortlessly eternity-bestriding. It's a music of both grand gestures, and tremendous subtlety, detail and restraint: evocative of both towering forest pines, and, in the memorable words of the band themselves, something more like "tree porridge" (!). Available in 2LP or you-may-still-eat CD edition; whichever you plump for, s’goddamn essential!