Jordan Perry’s Witness Tree takes the acoustic guitar to obscure, unexplored horizons in a way that’ll make you never look at—nor hear—the instrument the same way again.
Freshly released by Feeding Tube Records, Witness Tree finds Perry seemingly deconstructing folk and blues styles down to their barest elements. He relishes in the smallest details of these forms, by experimenting with their atonal qualities, unusual chord and note progressions as well as their various potential melodic paths.
Perry appears to be working within—and inspired by—the modernist end of the American Primitive guitar spectrum. Instead of the grand thickets of sound that artists like Jack Rose and Robbie Basho were known for weaving together, Perry’s work is far more minimalist. He favors selecting singular notes, and making complete studies of their very being, rather than trying to unload a whole barrage of fingerpicking all at once. You get to experience the same appreciation for each plucked string and every strummed chord that Perry himself seems to feel. The precise and clear production here brings out the vivid textures, timbres and deep reverberations that he can coax out of his instrument.
This record is full of careful and calculated pieces that constantly head into the least anticipated of directions. Through many of the tracks, blue notes and alien rhythms abound before sidetracking off into serpentine melodies that repeat with hypnotic frequency. In this way, Perry’s compositions are somewhat reminiscent of Emma Ruth Rundle and fellow Feeding Tube alumna, Wendy Eisenberg,
Despite its perhaps analytical approach, the performances on this record take on a tranquil natural pattern, like the sound of falling raindrops or distant birdsongs. This quality gives the album an immersive effect, which is not typically found within the world of experimental folk music.
Boundless, meditative and guaranteed to be unlike anything else that you might hear today, Witness Tree is bold step into uncharted territory.
You can get Witness Tree today at Feeding Tube Records (and I would do it soon, there are only 400 copies currently in print).