Short Cuts: A music blog

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A Tribute to Tree... RIP

Aug 25

Written by:
8/25/2008 8:53 PM  RssIcon

All of us have people who teach us about music. Mat was one of those people for me and, upon the shocking news of his untimely death on Sunday morning, I present to you all some of the music that he led me to.

In my life, to date, I've been lucky enough to have three musical mentors - people who have expanded and influenced my musical taste. The first was Victor, my piano teacher, who introduced me to U2, Led Zeppelin. Basically, he gave me a grounding in the classics. CLUAS editor, Eoghan, was the second and his diverse CD collection expanded my horizons to include Wilco and My Bloody Valentine.

The third was Mat (or Tree as I always knew him). In the late 90s, I was active on a football discussion forum called AllTalk. When AllTalk was decommissioned by the Guardian newspaper in 1998, some of the regulars formed our own football discussion forum called 40percent. So-called because we calculated that 40% of the conversation on the site was football related... the rest was film, music, politics. And silliness. Like here. As is the way, internet life spilled over into real life and many full and lasting relationships and friendships were formed.

Mat was a cornerstone of the site. Funny, confrontational, creative but with frighteningly good taste in film and music (Mew, Joanna Newsom, Blonde Redhead, Lee Hazelwood, Red House Painters, Can, Judee Sill were amongst his favourites) . Though we did not agree on everything (why oh why did he love Lars von Trier so much!), his musical preferences inevitably started wheedling their way into my collection.

To my horror, Mat died early on Saturday morning. Out of this sense of shock and bewilderment, I thought it only right that introduce you all to some of Mat's treasures that became some my favourite music. I know he would appreciate it. Even expect it.

American Gothic - David Ackles 

David Ackles - American GothicMat always used to rave about this record to me. One day, I arrived back to my flat in London to find that he had bought me a copy! Complete with a handwritten note.

American Gothic, released in 1972, is a theatrical achievement. The melody and drama of the album is perfectly captured on the final ten minute long treasure, Montana Song. Ackles voice is warm and loving.



No Other - Gene Clark 

Mat was a Byrds devotee, Gene Clark in particular. He sent me 2 MP3s from this 1974 record and I was immediately addicted. It's simply wonderful - a smooth, angelic record filled with synths and floating basslines.

The first time you listen, it seems a collection of blissed out country tunes. Even more opulent than American Gothic, this record talks to me about the 70s, about desperation and, in some ways, happiness.

My favourite album of last year was a re-release that Mat recommended to me - read about it here.


 Neon Golden - The Notwist 

Mat loved European pop music. Stina Nordenstam excited him. He was a huge advocate of Swedish pop music in general - both of us agreed that the Cardigan's Long Gone Before Daylight was unfairly overlooked. He could wax lyrical about Annie's Anniemal (check out Chewing Gum here) and, only last week, he was talking about how wonderful Robyn's self-titled debut album was.

I was falling out with electronic music at the time. Tree, my musical doctor, prescribed this album. Neon Golden is intricate, delicate and quite beautiful. I found it in bargain bin in Bruges, of all places.


I urge all of you to seek out these wonderful records.

And to Tree, wherever you are, every time I listen to this music, I will think of you.

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