PINES, A FINE FRENZY
Posted on October 26, 2012 by Maxim Deluxe
PINES, Alison Sudol’s third full-length as A Fine Frenzy (release date: October 9, 2012), is a fable about a pining tree who is given the unheard-of chance (for a conifer) to make a life of her own choosing. Drawing inspiration from the redwood forests and dramatic landscapes of Northern California and Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the thirteen new original songs survey a sonic landscape as vast and deep as the woods, their namesake.
Sudol crafted PINES in response to our accelerating pace of life in the 21st century.
“Sometimes I feel like the world has been strapped onto the back of a giant rocket and it’s hurtling us into the unknown at a pace we’re not entirely equipped to deal with. All kinds of things are falling off, good and bad. It’s a crazy, exciting, terrifying time- so much is changing, and fast. Yet some of the most wonderful things in the world are slow- rivers and seasons and turning leaves and growing older with the ones you love. I wanted to create an environment where a person could retreat to, somewhere vivid and real where their minds and hearts could wander freely. I wanted it to be a place you could go to feel, like a quiet spot in a forest or the sea on a cloudy day.”
The adventure of PINES is further realized in a companion book and short film. The animated film PINES, (produced by TakePart, the digital division and Social Action network of Participant Media, whose mission is to create entertainment that inspires and compels social change) integrates hand-cut sets, puppets, stop motion, physical effects, and layered glass to augment the depth and texture of the film. The book is a collaboration with illustrator Jen Lobo, whose aesthetic Sudol chose for her blend of “scientific precision and whimsical beauty.”
The ecological consciousness evident throughout PINES has been an integral part of Alison Sudol’s life since she was a little girl in Seattle, Washington. She serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and performed at the 2011 Environmental Media Awards, subsequently joining their Young Hollywood Board, which supports school gardens in urban areas through funding and celebrity mentoring. As one of the first artists on Twitter, Sudol takes her responsibilities seriously, encouraging her 1.7 million followers to be more socially active within their own communities on and off line. A recent collaboration with Nokia at this year’s SXSW resulted in Sudol and her followers contributing to the planting of over 5,000 trees after an extreme drought in the area decimated their forests and urban tree population.
Since A Fine Frenzy’s 2007 debut One Cell In The Sea, which spawned the hit “Almost Lover,” Sudol has proven herself a consummate, imaginative storyteller. Produced by Keefus Green (Everlast, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Henry, Benji Hughes), and recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios, PINES rekindles Sudol’s childlike sense of wonder after her 2009 electro-pop outing Bomb In A Birdcage. “I had been running to keep up with a world which I could not catch for so long, trying to find somewhere to belong, …somewhere along the way, I got lost. And then one day, I just couldn’t run anymore. I didn’t know where to go. It was only when I stopped that I found what I was looking for- or at least, I found how to find it. During that time, I was writing the story of PINES… I had to write it as a story- stories allow you to take a step back and actually look at what you’re seeing, not just how you feel about it. They give you perspective. That perspective allowed me to see life in a different way, as an adventure; the record, the book and the film are my maps.”
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