By: Kyle Rutherford
The style of "visionary electronic music" could be compared to the hypothetical soundtrack for paintings by Alex & Allyson Grey. The feeling you get when you dive deeply into the music, whether relaxing, meditating or dancing, definitely embodies the feeling of transcendence and a wider state of spiritual consciousness. Whether it makes you feel like you’re up in the clouds or on another dimensional plane, visionary electronic music is a wonderful key for anyone seeking a broader awareness of the self and the world in which we live.
Zach Hill, the mastermind behind Tangled Branches, has been using his visionary electronic music as a tool to connect people to themselves and one another since 2013. Though he is still on the verge of breaking out of the Dayton, OH area, Hill’s melodic combination of psychedelic bass, funk, and trip-hop has shared sound systems with the likes of Govinda, G Jones, Blockhead, Desert Dwellers, and fellow Dayton native, Yheti.
His newest release on Transcendent Tunes, Adena, is a beautiful full length created to carry its listeners through the various layers of human consciousness.
“Adena unfolded over several months while I was getting my feet wet, playing my first full festival season,” says Hill. “It was originally planned as an EP, but the songs kept accumulating as I created new content for my live sets. Each festival exposed me to so many artists, both musical and visual. Adena captures what it was like going into all these different scenes and meeting all kinds of interesting, inspired people.”
The album begins with an elongated meditative “Om” sound, which grows in volume for 40 seconds. As it fades, bird noises are heard, which are then crossed over into the first full track, “Astronaut Ice Cream,” a bright and uplifting tune comparable to music of Owl City. The simple percussion and tight string sounds also add a slight organic sound to the music.
“Dawn of Man” is another quickie with a lot of diversity. The classic rock styled guitar sounds are a delightfully unique sound to hear in amongst the electronic sounds, while the trippy mallet sounds and upbeat percussion keeps upbeat energy compared to the downtempo guitar work. The tune is wonderful for its constant change of primary sounds, and the island steel drum sounds at the end are a perfect cap to the tune.
Hill’s biggest standout on the album is “Soulstice,” a laidback tune he did with Cincinnati, OH downtempo electronic producer Abby Vice. “We established a very natural musical language with one another and she influenced me to play differently than I would have on my own," Hill noted. "It was such a refreshing experience.” The song is much longer than any of the others and relies a lot on short, quirky vocal and synth samples. Each sample delightfully fluctuates between the background and foreground, with while their melodic string compositions are just plain gorgeous.
“Cahokia” sounds like a solid nod to the music of Cloudchord (formerly known as D.V.S*). The electronic elements gritty and groovy, while the delightfully distorted guitar sounds keep up with same classic rock/jam sound as “Dawn of Man.” Also, if there were ever a genre called Psychedelic Surf Music, “Letting Go” would be just that. The strings sounds have the feel and melodies of that of Hawaiian luau music, while the oscillating low-end synths and percussion sampling makes me feel like I’m sitting in the sand, watching the waves. “Sunshine Daydream” keeps that same Hawaii luau guitar sound alive, while the funky beat and groovy synths makes you want to get up and sway.
The tune “Hello Dimensions” was already released on Transcendent Tune’s Redemptio(n) compilation this past fall, but it just had the perfect sound to be released again on this album. The song was inspired by Hill’s first experience with DMT and samples his own breathing, audio from an interview with a 1950's housewife on LSD, and some wonderful organic guitar pedal sounds. He really does a great job at creating that transcendent feeling from your first time blasting off, and it’s the perfect tune to listen to for any journey you’re taking in life.
Chip tune and nu-disco are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, but they had to be to describe “Skating Party.” It’s very different from any of Hill’s previous music, but still enjoyable. If roller rink raves were still as popular as they were back in the “old days,” this would definitely be the type of music you would hear at them. “Thank You I Love You” is another far cry from Hill’s sound, and it is another alluring breath of fresh air. Psychedelic bass lines and guitar sounds aren’t heard enough in house music, and this one really changes the game a bit.
“Stillness Speaks” is a perfect way to end the album. It is truly the epitome of his visionary bass sound; gorgeous and laid back, with beautifully produced high sounds and trembling low end.
This album is sonically and emotionally fulfilling. The beauty and uniqueness makes one super happy by the end and you can really tell the Ohio visionary bass shaman really learned a lot when making this full length.
The functionality you are trying to use is for members only. Would you like to sign in?