Monday, May 2, 2011

Arbouretum, Carl Jung and the great outdoors

I interview Dave Heumann about his really excellent new-ish Arbouretum album The Gathering today at PopMatters.

The Natural Order: An Interview With Dave Heumann of Arbouretum

By Jennifer Kelly 2 May 2011

“The feeling of being out in nature and disconnected from the man-made world can create different thought patterns. It can generate a different state of mind,” says Dave Heumann the songwriter for Arbouretum. “If I’m out in the woods and go to a quarry for a swim and hike around, my mental state is going to be qualitatively very different than if I sit inside my apartment and screw around on Facebook all day.”

Aptly enough, Heumann is walking through the woods when I ask him about his connection to nature. Yes, he’s on a path in north Baltimore, not an Appalachian trail. Yes, he’s on his way to a coffee shop, not about to cook porridge over a flintlock fire. But the fact remains that he’s in a forest, which is exactly where you’d expect Heumann to be after hearing even a fragment of Arbouretum’s guitar-wrenching, distortion-fuzzed take on rustic rock and roll.

Heumann is the kind of songwriter who, when he slips in a lyric about a tree or a bird or a running river, seems to have actually observed such objects, not just read about them in books. There’s something elemental about his fuzzed-drenched, Americana-infused anthems, something both grounded and deeply mystical. His fourth and latest album, The Gathering fuses the guitar heroics of Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young with the weathered calm of Kris Kristofferson or Michael Hurley. It also includes a good helping of the otherworldly, partly inspired by a fascination with Carl Jung and his Red Book.

A link to the rest

“Destroying to Save”

In other news, we won our first track meet at Keene Middle School on both the girls' and boys' side. Also Saturday at our big home relays meet (an enormous headache getting everybody onto a team with two boys and two girls and then a quarter of the team doesn’t show up and we have to rejigger everything at the last minute), we tied with Keene for the win. Keene is probably twice as big as our school, so tying is like winning. So track is off to a pretty good start. Aside from feeling exhausted and like I’ve been nibbled to death by mosquitos (for an inkling of the experience, get someone to ask you: “Is this a relay?” thirty times in a row and each time, answer, “Yes, everything’s a relay today.”), I’m enjoying the coaching. I really like the kids, even when they’re driving me crazy.

Also, on Sunday, I bought a new laptop to replace one that finally died last month, so I can download promos again.

And finally, I’m reading This Band Could be Your Life right now and enjoying it immensely, but could use some Black Flag if anyone wants to share.


Jean-Luc Garbo said...

I liked how you crafted that opening. The first four paragraphs work nicely like starting a documentary. It sailed easily from there. This is also a good reminder for me as I'd forgotten to check into their new album. Did you choose that band photo? It really cracked me up. Looks like Steve Earle joined OK Go for a music video.

jenniferpkelly said...

Thanks, Andrew...but no, about the photo. I had no idea what he looked like until this morning. I wish Steve Earle would join OK Go, now that you mention it.