With influences such as Mulatu Astatke and David Bryne tucked away inside his creative mind, Will Fortna is a London-based musician who writes and records under the moniker, Tree House. His name is a nod to both Arthur Russell, an early and enduring influence, and the windowless loft space where he taught himself how to sample drums and play the keyboard, composing using headphones, keyboards and hushed vocals.
Released just under a week ago, Head Up High is Tree House’s first offering since his 2017 Into the Ocean EP and signals a notably more bold move away from minimalist pop into a smooth, Talking Heads-inspired groove. With a first draft that used sampled drums from the Talking Head’s Speaking in Tongues LP, the track is a fine display of its influences. Head Up High has got a contagious smoothness and swagger about it, its melodic edge delivered by funky saxophone, shimmering guitar and sleek vocals; whist an underlying sense of mystery mingles throughout….and as the track draws to a close and each instrument cuts and fades into the outro, I can’t help but think of Fela Kuti…it’s a fresh-cut and I like its flow. Check it out above.
Tree House are following the release with a nationwide co-headline tour with Viewfinder, with whom they share the majority of on-stage members.