Lost in the Trees Open Up on 'Empty House'
One of the nicer surprises of 2010 has been Chapel Hill, N.C.'s Lost in the Trees, a classical-meets-indie-folk collective helmed by Ari Picker. In early August, they released their debut, 'All Alone in an Empty House,' an album that was initially recorded a few years back and sold at their shows. Once they signed with Anti- Records this spring, Picker went back in and added a few tracks and overdubs.
Picker logged time studying classical composition at Boston's Berklee College of Music and on 'Empty House,' he's not afraid to meld those arrangements with a Neutral Milk Hotel approach to folk rock. But look past the quirky nature of the sound and you'll find that Lost in the Trees explore something much more personal.
Two tracks that stand out happened to be two of the new ones added for the rerelease: 'A Room Where Your Paintings Hang' and 'We Burn the Leaves,' both of which stem from the passing of Picker's mother. "I just wanted to write ['A Room Where Your Paintings Hang'] about God and how he might invite her and have a relationship with her in heaven," Picker tells Spinner. "I wanted it to have some sort of heavenly, golden sound. That's where the brass comes from. When someone dies close to you, there's this weird ... the doors between life and death have opened up temporarily. Your brain can't really grasp it, the whole infinity concept."
For 'We Burn the Leaves,' Picker looks more into his past and his relationship with his mother, whose suicidal tendencies he had to confront as a child. "I recreated the vibe I felt when I was a kid, when I was dealing with all that stuff," he says. "All the imagery, for the most part, is places I remember. As I child, she was threatening her life