Surely you’ve heard of him before. If not – it’s high time! Call him an electronic music alchemist, know him as a french DJ and cook or just love him for sharing his outstanding musical talent with us. After his last release “French Cuisine” in 2006 we’re proud to present Alif Tree’s second album “Clockwork” on Compost Records! Surprise guest on “Clockwork“ is Memphis legend Tony Joe White.
Remember: “French Cuisine“ went (after the nomination) to the top ten albums in Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide (BBC) charts of the year 2006. And remember the amazing and successful Moodymann remix of “Forgotten Places“.
As a musician (guitar, voice, keyboards, percussion…), Alif is a fervent defender of acoustic sounds, from philharmonic music to pop via jazz and world music. A sound-engineer and producer skilled in digital techniques, he has been navigating through the universe of recording-studios, sound-stages and television, as much as record-labels, for the past seventeen years. The voyager, who tele-transported himself to Normandy a few years ago, has finally settled down in Marseille and installed his own studio at the end of 1999.
In February 2000 he signed with M10 for “The Observatory”, a first album that scrutinized, in the distance, the possible future of electronic music. In the press, critics welcomed this clairvoyant point of view with interest. “Between pop melancholy, West Coast groove and ethnic reflections, the first album from Alif Tree inscribes itself in the composite logic of tomorrow’s downbeat: pop fragrances, science-fiction nuggets, jazz, exotic savours, this first Alif Tree album does without glutamate”, wrote Yann Quélennec in the columns of “Coda”.
Having crossed over into the third millennium, Alif signed with Universal Music Jazz and has come out with “Spaced”, an opus that points, like E.T.’s finger, to visions perceived from his observatory. Sailing the seven seas of space in zero gravity, between trip-hop under classical influence, instrumental hip-hop and jazzy electronica, these ten tracks go head-to-head against the current trends, which would have all down-tempo electro composers produce soundtracks for imaginary movies.
Then Al!f, for almost three years, explored and went on, meeting musicians and artists, stages and studios, collected sounds and atmospheres, scenes and moods to bring “French Cuisine”, his third album. Yes, the man is french, and considers himself as an open minded cook, defending the “art of living” à la française, mixing ingredients, as the unique menu he’s prepared for you.
Adding little bits of the scores he writes for cinema or tv (he’s the exclusive sounddesigner for MTV networks Fr. for instance) musics for classic and modern dance ballets, remixes, like the famous one of François de Roubaix for Cinemix,)
plus of course a mixture of those gigs in NYC, London, Paris or Sarajevo….and in the beautiful city of Marseille of course!
On stage, he mixes, using tracks and cinematic ambiances with radio sources, from classical music to experimental electronic, and creates each time a unique trip thru time, space and memory. He can also be a crowd mover when he feels like, heating dancefloors with various spices, without ever falling into clichés.
Since then Alif Tree’s music has considerably changed. “Cause I did. I came back to my first musical love: songs. So I composed songs, in a pop way.“
This new chapter written in “Clockwork“ is filled with promises and pushed Alif Tree to a new musical state- more personal, detailed, just magic!
Influences have been digested and recreated…You can find a bit of those not even hiding within the music. His very first cover “Timestretched”, a song written by The Divine Comedy, inspired Alif Tree to the title of the album: “Clockwork“. It’s about how time changes us, gives life and death, and the unique opportunity to shape our life and soul: uncompromising partner.
The ideas for the songs on “Clockwork“ came in one shot, and when the new tracks were composed, he came to the end of a cycle: home, wife, life, this was the end and the beginning of a chapter. He had to find interpreters, singers, musicians: he wanted to do it live this time. In Nashville he hired musicians, some were touring with Bruce Springsteen, some had played with Al Green or Isaac Hayes, some were..Tony Joe White, the caiman legend from the bayou. “We recorded, night and day, got fat because of beer and of sugar in every dish, and came home with a double, not a triple album. That was the beginning of the long lonely tunnel called editing, mixing, producing. 8 months later we finished this in a studio in Paris (…) Without any false humility, I lust say “Clockwork“ is my very best album, no doubt, no comparison.“
The album was recorded in Nashville, by Eric E-mac (Icky Thumb/ The White Stripes).