If you pronounce Thuja’s name “thoo-jah,” in Gujarathi it would mean, “you go.” Although this sounds like a command, when you put the CD in, it seems more like a directive. “You go there, into this open field, this darkened cavern, or these aquatic depths.” Their moniker (actually referencing the North American cedar tree) feels like an invitation outside of the concrete jungle of my urban life, and into imaginative territories. There’s something of an outsider touch to this, as if the band was referencing musical traditions outside those I’m familiar with. Track three (none of the tracks seem to be titled) starts out like a ceremonial march that I swear I’ve heard at a wedding somewhere, but ends up in Roy Montgomery droning territory.
Of the members of the band, percussionist Loren Chasse is the only one that I am familiar with, via id battery. One can easily see a link between the loose soundscaping on that ensemble, and the slightly folk inflected instrumental psych-drone-wander that permeates all 13 of these tracks. Other members include Stephen R. Smith, Glenn Donaldson and pianist Rob Reger. The instrumentation recalls rhBand, and occasionally Pelt in terms of recognizable instrumentalism played against atmospheric drones and scrapes, but an easier reference point is The No Neck Blues Band, although much less epic, trance inducing freakout, and more stare at your toes and contemplate their essence swirling atmospherics. This is hot weather music conducive to lemonade and beer on your porch, clouds and cars passing occasionally, and a creaking rocking chair. 13 tracks, 40 minutes. One to grow with.
Emperor Jones Records: http://www.southern.com/southern/label/EMJ