Mini Artist Profile – tree
Who, you ask, is the coolest kid that I’ve never met? The obvious answer has to be Oliver Tree Nickell. Not only do I have a personal affinity for those who tout their middle name, but his musical creativity, ability, and general outside-the-box attitude make for a strong impression. It is a pleasure to have discovered his music and an easy decision to share his talents.
I first came across the 18 year old tree through (the great) Minnesota. Though Minnesota does a disservice by not having this track posted on his SoundCloud, he did at one time share this link:
First time I saw this, I assumed that tree was responsible only for the vocal stylings in this ingeniously fun tune, but now that I realize more of what he is capable of, it leaves one to wonder exactly what the extent of this collaboration was. His antics in the video were enough inspiration to check out his work on SoundCloud, and that was an excellent stroke of luck for my ears.
Finding tunes in the same vein as “Next Level” made tree an instant follow. Seeing a drumstep track done in cooperation with Getter (who still has my favorite “Like a G6″ remix in the fleet of over 9000 other artist’s attempts) confirmed my suspicions that tree was indeed a serious production threat on top of being able to turn a phrase or two. Right next in line chronologically was a track that had me sold while I was still listening to “Ja Break.” Knowing that a “Juciy” remix was ahead – a “treemix,” as a matter of a fact – and realizing it was labeled glitch hop made this a preemptive favorite. It obviously remained a favorite afterwards too, as it will for you in about two minutes and twenty three seconds from now.
A couple months later and the next tree tune to really strike a chord with me was another Getter collabo. There’s a few things that are more exciting than coming across a “Clint Eastwood” remix, but that list is sadly short. One has to question the lucidity of one who cannot get the fuck down to this four minutes of sunshine in a bag. Fun fact – the first time I heard the Gorillaz smash single was on the radio in a plane flying over England and bound for Italy when the song was a week or less fresh to the airwaves. I was already a fan of the Ziploc-contained sunshine, but on hearing the Gorillaz song I have been a fan of the animated group ever since; a killer remix like this one makes the tune new all over again.
At this point, tree turns phoenix as he tries to reinvent his musical boundaries and pursue the ever elusive creative horizon. His first offering of this variety is pleasing on every auditory level. It initially comes across as quite the straightforward jam, but a closer listen and a look at what is really going on in this track proves that an easy fallacy to refute. To quote the artist, “This tracks sounds consist of all real instruments and samples i recorded and finished within one week. You will find a wide range of new sounds including a bassline made with a Didgeridoo, a gameboy, coffee grinders, a synth made from my dog barking, clocks, multiple flutes for both high/mid synths and all kinds of sounds of strange little instruments. For my drums i used recordings of my toasters, can openers, every sound i could find in my kitchen, my turkish hand drum, and the list could go on forever.” Enjoy the final effort and thank us later when you’re totally impressed.
The latest offering from the tree team is a contemplative, introspective masterpiece. Taking on not only life, death, and everything in between, but also the processes of living and dying, “People” meets a musically metaphorical graveyard found at the corners of spine-tingling and heartbreaking. There is a lot to be said about this track musically that I am unqualified to speak on, and as other blogs have already made that attempt, I’ll just tell you what I know about this song. The lyrics are written by tree and the tracks guitarist, Shelf Nunny; these are preformed by tree and Lena Kuhn.
All together from tree, I am left with the impression that, especially when making music a collaborative and gratifying experience, he can find nothing but success. Smart enough to realize this himself, “tree” will come to represent more than Oliver Nickell himself, but a veritable bay area (SF) creative think tank, “that is a multimedia group with a director, street artist/cartoonist, and 3D animator.” With a taste of what they can do with a music video, and knowing that the next one is already three months in the works and set to be seen around the new year, we’re very excited to see what they come up with next; on the same thought we’re also disappointed that we’re stuck here in New England while this group gets set to unleash a revamped visual element to tree’s stage presence.
Youth, passion, and creativity are contagious and addictive; thinking that we are both in the same boat as having all three of those things going for us, we offer tree our full support.