Friday, October 11, 2013

Forgotten Fridays: Forest for the Trees - "Dream"


In 1997, the "electronica is the Next Big Thing" movement was in full effect. The Prodigy had released Fat of the Land, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart. The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim were getting some solid attention, and we all know that Beck's Odelay was an unexpected breakthrough a few years after "Loser." The song that grabbed me out of the multiple singles we got out of this era, however, was a minor hit by electronic group Forest for the Trees.

Forest for the Trees was headed by producer Carl Stephenson, who is probably best "known" for his producer credits on Beck's Odelay. The Forest for the Trees project was signed to Dreamworks, and the self-titled debut album lead off with the single above, "Dream," a spacey pop-electro piece that featured a lot of Eastern instrumentation combined with, well, bagpipe. It's truly a weird song, but fits in with the strange radio experimentation we saw right before rap-rock ruined everything. The album itself is a mishmash of samples and Eastern music and mysticism and electronica tropes that shouldn't work, but mostly does. Of course, it's not on Spotify, but I did dig out the CD today and it holds up.

We never got another album from Forest for the Trees. Word is that Stephenson had major anxiety issues, and a second album was shelved completely, never to be seen again. I'm not even sure if Stephenson is active in the music industry anymore, but I always loved this album and hoped we'd get more.

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