Deathprod – “Treetop Drive” – [Smalltown Supersound]
Deathprod is the noise-ambient project of Norwegian artist Helge Sten, who is also a member of the avant-jazz group Supersilent. Sten uses the term “audio virus” to describe the variety of sound sources used on this album, including “old tape echo machines, ring modulators, filters, theremins, samplers and lots of electronic stuff”.
“Treetop Drive” was originally released on CD in 1994 and has been re-mastered by Rashad Becker and re-released on double LP just this year (2017). The sounds are as infectious as ever.
The first three tracks comprise three movements of “Treetop Drive”, and share many thematic elements, although the moods are quite different.
Treetop Drive 1 (A) is built around dramatic strings and synths, featuring the violin work of Hans Magnus Ryan. Solemn, repetitive, and trance-like waves washing ashore. Slowly shifting over times, growing more distressed and urgent as the feedback and distortion intensify, and then letting go, returning out to sea.
Treetop Drive 2 (B) contains the same pulsing overwhelming rhythm, but now harsh and machine-like instead of organic. A call-and-response with metallic grinding shrieks and sub-harmonic bass blasts.
The last movement, Treetop Drive 3 (C) has a faster pace, almost frantic in comparison with the previous parts. Like a windy, rumbling tornado, and equally bleak. It includes a quick clip of some anonymous conservative ranting about schools today teaching “death education”, likely a PSA for Teachers AIDS.
The final track, Tugboat (D), is colder and more barren than the rest, like floating far out at sea. The rolling black waves are still present, more still than before but no less ominous. Over time, the danger of the situation unfolds.