Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Record label: Secretly Canadian
After to traveling to Pakistan to record Taken by Trees' 2009 album East of Eden, Victoria Bergsman chose the far more relaxed island of Hawaii as a locale and inspiration for 2012's Other Worlds. On a vacation there she was struck by the state's beauty and feel and formulated a plan to make music inspired by two songs that had recently captured her ear; the Beach Boys' Hawaiian-inspired instrumental "Diamond Head" and Augustus Pablo's lilting dub instrumental "AP Special." She worked with Andreas Söderström (as she did on her last album) to capture the sounds and feel of Hawaii, went to L.A. to work with Beachwood Sparks' Farmer Dave Schur, and entrusted the Tough Alliance's Henning Fürst to produce and mix the results.
The best albums have an identifiable feel. They're records acting as cohesive statements, strung together by some unquantifiable mood..
Many sovereign artists talk a big game when it comes to being influenced by the places they visit. Touring and vacationing can provide musical touchstones, but former Concretes frontwoman Victoria Bergsman truly steeps in each locale she explores. Her third album, Other Worlds, follows in the footsteps of her Pakistani musical sojourn, East of Eden.
A few weeks back, I had cause to revisit East of Eden, the second solo album from former Concretes' frontwoman Victoria Bergsman as Taken By Trees, which I found set out curbside in Brooklyn (along with albums by the Beastie Boys and Autre Ne Veut, oddly enough). Dealing with Bergsman's travels through Pakistan, the resplendent record charmed my ears when it was released in 2009, but was ultimately lost amid the shuffle of "bigger" albums from that year. The devotional, low-key, Sufi-infused folk album was a continent removed from Bergsman's previous efforts.
“If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there…”—and well who isn’t?—then you’ll welcome Taken By Trees’ third offering with hungry arms, a fragrant lei and a gleefully sloppy wet kiss on both cheeks. Yes, after catching the Maharaja Express first class to Pakistan to record 2009’s wistful wonder East of Eden ex-Concretes’ chanteuse turned “International Jet Setter” Victoria Bergsman has packed her favourite flowery blouse and ukulele and set sail for the Big Island (y’know, Hawaii) to craft an “Impressionist poem for the Pacific”. OK if that sounds a bit touchy-feely, “Boomshanka! Ooh stroke my Inner Zen!” worry no further as the softly spoken Swede has smartly appointed gonzo genius Henning Furst of the Tough Alliance as First Mate and Chief button-pusher.
Taken By TreesOther Worlds[Secretly Canadian; 2012]By Ray Finlayson; October 17, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetFifty-one years ago Hawaii was put on the musical map when Elvis Presley released his fourteenth album, Blue Hawaii. Spending twenty weeks at the top of the charts, and with over three million copies sold since its release date, it’s no wonder the record is one of the most successful of the 1960s. Since then, musicians have visited the islands and reminisced over them, or used the iconic imagery to create their own idea of escape.
Other Worlds is the third studio album from the intriguingly named Taken by Trees, the moniker adopted by ex-Concretes lead vocalist Victoria Bergsman for her solo work. After recording her last album in Pakistan with a cast of local musicians, the Swedish-born chanteuse is back thumbing her copy of Lonely Planet, drawing her latest inspiration from a trip to Hawaii. This time she mingles hazy synths, pedal steel, and homely dub beats with the natural sounds of ethnic percussion, warm rain, thunder, and birds to create a thoroughly blissed-out mood.
For the recording of her last Taken By Trees album, 2009’s East of Eden, Swedish songstress Victoria Bergsman voyaged to the politically turbulent Pakistan, where she was abducted by a gang of locals and rescued by her recording engineer Andreas Soderstrom. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why Bergsman relished the opportunity to write her follow-up in a less hostile environment. Other Worlds was inspired by a trip to the Hawaiian islands, where Bergsman soaked up the quintessential laid-back sights: beaches, waves, waterfalls, coconuts, probably some dudes strumming ukeleles and smoking hash.
Sweden and Hawaii may be disparate environments, but that doesn’t stop Victoria Bergsman, aka Taken By Trees, from bringing them together. The former Concretes singer heads to paradise on Other Worlds, the follow-up to 2009’s acclaimed East Of Eden.Opening track “Horizon” makes an unassuming entrance, Bergsman’s vocals hushed. It’s a small wave creeping onto the shore, announcing the arrival of a vibrant, evocative record.
Following her departure from the Concretes in 2006, Victoria Bergsman recorded Open Field, her album under the Taken By Trees moniker, with Bjorn Yttling, of Peter Bjorn & John (whose "Young Folks" she sang on). For her follow-up, she travelled to Pakistan, where her life was actually put in danger. The result, 2009's East of Eden, however, found her home-grown Swedish pop influenced by the Sufi Qawwali music that surrounded her.