The Trees Community was a communal musical project based out of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. The group were a religious order of sorts in that community, splitting their time between performing music, giving tours of the church, among other duties. A key feature of their work was the use of an array of instruments from around the world including the sitar, tamboura, and Venezuelan harp accompanying complicated vocal arrangements.
According to their website they began meeting in an abandoned loft in New York’s East Village to share meals and discuss all manner of spiritual matters, eventually incorporating music into their spiritual practice. When the building was set to be demolished, they–in true hippie fashion–purchased a bus and began living communally within and performing across the country. A member of the group has written a book documenting their experiences that you can read here. A few years after leaving NYC, they recorded an album called The Christ Tree, which was the only official release that the group ever put out. In 2006, Hand/Eye released The Christ Tree on CD for the first time. This box set contained all extant material recorded by the group, including live performances and a cassette released by the group called Portrait of Jesus Christ in Music. It looks like Discogs is your best bet to track down the release, although digital files can be found on CDBaby if that’s your bag.
Though Golowin would be lauded primarily for his writing in the area of folklore and esotericism, Golowin turned out a real psych-infused treat with1973’s Lord Krishna Von Goloka. With help from Klaus Schulze (of Tangerine Dream fame),Golowin’s only record certainly captures the blend inviting psychedelia and electronic experimentation, perhaps best on this track. I first heard this release on Soul Jazz Records’ fantastic Deutsche Elektronische Musik 2 compilation. What stands out on this track and others on the album is the blending of acoustic jamming worthy of any flower child with enchanting vocal experimentation. In many ways it reminds me of something like Popol Vuh’s Song of the Earth. Though most versions feature the cover above, check out the cover of the Italian quadrophonic release.
Mathias Grassow has been recording synthesizer music since the mid 80s, where he drew inspiration from fellow German groups like Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream and began recording a meditative blend of New Age and Krautrock. His first release, At the Gates of Dawn, came out on cassette in 1986. In addition to synth he also records with flute, guitar, and other electronics and while live performances are rare, they are crafted to create an immersive experience.
In this kind of music it’s very important, to have a nice place to play – not normal locations, but more places like a church, caves (remember my ‘Lanzarote concerts’) and open-airs.
I tried to find some pictures of those concerts but was unable to find any, but this video of a performance seems to capture the spirit nicely. In fact a recent concert of his took place at a retreat in Germany where all the guests had just completed a ten day vow of silence! While much of his output consists of solo works, he has released collaborations with Agalloch member John Haugm and Closing the Eternity in addition to projects like Nostalgia and KarmaCosmic. Most if not all his discography his available for streaming/purchase on his Bandcamp page. Those interested in physical releases should head over to Discogs.