The debut album from Pneumatic Tubes, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Jesse Chandler ( keyboard & woodwinds player for the bands Midlake and Mercury Rev). Grounded here in his own bucolic makings, Chandler opens his imagination to the world with this very personal and contemplative album. It’s a kind of American Kosmiche Music, a paean to the wild landscapes of the Adirondacks and Catskills of Upstate New York where he grew up. (TreeTops is the name of a summer camp, fondly remembered by several generations of the Chandler family.)
The album came to Chandler almost as an automatic transmission. Shortly after the death of his father, he holed up alone in the old family home with a few synths, a couple of vintage keyboards, percussion instruments and of course his beloved flutes and clarinets – the “pneumatic tubes” of his nom de plume. Channelling raw memory and landscape, Chandler laid down most of the material for this mystical and elegiac suite of music in just a few days. He later called on some talented friends to flesh out the final recordings; Paul Alexander on bass, Bill Campbell on drums, Marissa Nadler backing vocals and Robert Gomez on electric guitar. The result is a series of beautifully faded musical photographs.
“It’s a collection of sonic Polaroids with soothing powers, so entirely and genuinely personal it ends up speaking to (and of) universal feelings. Muisically, the album offers plenty of wide-eyed library-imbued warmth (‘Slow Fawns’) and hauntological escapism (‘The Big Deep’, beguiling highlight ‘Witch Water’ featuring Marissa Nadler on supernatural vocals) – at times, like on ‘Camp Sunforest’, the two intervene in a most magnetic way. As the songs follow one another, the Adirondacks and Catskills come to life before our eyes with the eerie stillness of memories turned reveries. The woodwinds and keyboards we hear belong to another time, and possibly another world. A quiet triumph. Five stars.” – Shindig