Recommended: Tanuki – “Dancing Trees”


Tanuki - "Dancing Trees"Sometimes the music of Dancing Trees is strangely meditative, in opposition to its lively delivery… and not unlike the solo works of jazz legend John Surman.  This is how multi-reedist Laurent Rochelle and his Tanuki project opens the album with the title-track “Dancing Trees.”  But then there’s the exceedingly cheerful tracks like “Happy Hands,” with a melody that just wants to dance away the day and on into the night.  That nighttime dance is joined by the vocals of Fanny Roz, and the beat is heavier and the groove is more driven and while the song is no less tuneful, the motivations seem less steered toward playfulness than they are an intoxicating allure.

The effects-heavy “Looping Leaves” and “Lost in Green” shifts even further away from the meditative presence and the latter of those two tracks emits a warbling lyricism that’s practically jarring.  “Luminescence” heads even further down that rabbit hole, and even though the effects have an even sharper edge than previous tracks, intriguingly enough, the song begins to circle back around to the opening track’s contemplative ambiance… but just a little.

However, that full circle reaches completion… in a sense, at least… with the album’s final track “Nautilus.”  It brings together the meditative presence with the playful attitude, and bass clarinet’s melodic sighs mesh perfectly with the skittering vocals of Fanny Roz, who returns for the final track of the recording.

I’m going to be writing a lot about the music of Laurent Rochelle in the coming weeks.  This is just one example of the diverse creativity that marks much of his songbook.  None of it is conventional and all of it seriously compelling.

Your album personnel:  Laurent Rochelle (bass clarinet, soprano sax, keyboards, effects, vocal) and Fanny Roz (vocals).

Released on Linoleum Records.

Listen to more album tracks on the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from the Toulouse, France scene.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon | eMusic