Album Review

Birdtree, the – “Orchards and Caravans ” – [Last Visible Dog Records]

Max Level   1/7/2006   A Library, CD

Intriguing solo project by Glenn Donaldson of San Francisco’s Jewelled Antler Collective, combining acoustic folk music with strange and beautiful sounds too active to be called “ambient”. Donaldson sings and plays 99% of the instruments, largely via cassette overdubs, creating that classic recorded-in-the-bedroom sound. We hear guitar, banjo, bouzouki, keyboards, percussion, accordion, harmonium, toys, nature recordings, and heaven only knows what all else. He does a nice job with the folky guitar/vocal parts, but for me it’s the addition of all those surprisingly musical “non-music” sections that give this project its elegance. Good stuff. Donaldson also did the fantastic artwork; too bad this isn’t 12″ vinyl in a double gatefold cover.

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