A little under a year ago guitarist and singer-songwriter Mike Meinke released With My Headphone’s In under the banner of Mike’s Magic Trip that saw him taking the sonic template he established leading Buffalo Huddleston in a slightly different direction, including teaming up with harpist Alicia Du Coustel on a few tracks.
Now, he and Alicia, going by the name The Other World, have released their first set of songs as a duo, The Silver Tree.
Things start off in upbeat fashion with Ashram Traffic Jam that is led by Meinke on guitar and vocals while De Coustel’s harp comes in behind, somewhat reminiscent of the way the violins backed up the guitar on the early Buffalo Huddleston Trio recordings, but with its own unique feel.
The song also sets the mood with its lyrics that build on some of With My Headphones In’s themes with an exotic side that shows something duo’s ongoing journey both literal and musical.
The title tracks eases its way in with a more chilled vibe that brings the duo’s dual vocals to the fore and they sound great together.
This also, not wishing to sound too much like a hippy about things, has something of the feeling of their two musical spirits converging with Mike’s more hip hop and rock influenced style and Alicia’s folkier sound merging brilliantly.
As The Rivers Flow is then maybe the most Buffalo Huddleston-ish track of the set (I’ve got a feeling they’ve played this live in the past but I may be mistaken), with Mike’s guitar work again standing out with some impressive if understated licks coming through.
The EP is then rounded off by Ullin that begins in unassumingly light fashion with Alicia’s harp and vocals.
From there it builds a good rhythm before Mike’s didgeridoo kicks in and things go into full on trance territory (is folk-trance a thing?) that has the feeling it could easily be a highlight at many a summer festival with a crowd in the warm air going off to it (Sark Roots or The Peace Tent at Chaos I’m thinking specifically about you here), closing the record on a genuine high.
The Silver Tree then serves as a great introduction to this new duo both for those familiar with their past work and those discovering them for the first time and it’s done a great job of helping warm up a dark and wet November for me already.