Album: ED DRURY AND CRAIG MURPHY – A Tree on the Tundra (Ambidextrous AMB007 2008)

Ed Drury and Craig Murphy are two thirds of Shoosh – the non-singing two thirds. As an indication as to what A Tree on the Tundra sounds like, that information is not particularly relevant. This is a long way from Shoosh’s narcotic, fuzzy-folk.

Digging deep into my book of journalistic clichés, the adjectives sweeping, cinematic and symphonic come to the fore. This is music suited to the closing credits of a cathartic, two and a half hour movie epic. Doleful piano lines, dramatic synth washes and grandiose crescendos are the order of the day: like Eno’s Music For Films given the Cecil B DeMille treatment. For all its widescreen panorama, the album manages to steer the right side of empty bombast, instead providing something uplifting with a tinge of melancholia.

Landscape features heavily in the track titles, and there is a sense that these five pieces are meant to be heard as panoramic aural canvasses. The details – a tree, a river, a bird – are voiced by Drury’s piano and percussion (bells, glockenspiel, xylophone etc), whilst the environmental context is provided by Murphy’s broad strokes.

The tracks have their individual flavours – the synthetic birds, church bells and crickets of “Dark Sun Rising”, for example – but the album works best as a kind of symphony in five movements. It’s music designed for looking from a hilltop and watching the shadows of clouds dancing across lush, rolling fields. Stirring and somehow reassuring at the same time.

A Tree on the Tundra is released as a digital download on November 10th. Not sure if there will be a physical version.

1. A Tree On The Tundra 6:00
2. Autumn River Revisited 5:45
3. Over Rolling Hills 7:16
4. Dark Sun Rising 5:01
5. Shadows On The Horizon 7:29



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