As the man behind the samplers and switches for early 90s industrial metallers Cop Shoot Cop, Jim Coleman was always slightly out of step with the scene exploding around him at the time. The band offered something a touch more experimental than the clank and yell of their shadowy brethren. With this solo project, he has taken himself so far outside of what could ever be considered even vaguely populist, he might as well be beaming in from a bucolic yet alien alternate reality.
Trees is more a wash of sound than a collection of recognisable songs. Clearly, his work scoring indie films has given him an education in creating light and shade, mood and abstract impressions.
At its best, the album’s ghostly string moans and eerily organic percussion don’t feel like the work of humans at all. Rather, it’s as if he left a microphone in the woods to see how they come alive when there’s no one around to hear the trees fall. Inevitably there are also moments, as on Live Out, where it sounds as if he pressed Record while an orchestra was still tuning up.
New-agers will lap it up, but for all its merits it’s hard to see who else might have room for Trees in this hectic 21st century world.