Album of the Week - Slow Meadow - By the Ash Tree
Now that we've broadened our AOTY selections to include EP's here at DC, so much more is fair game. Each Monday, now, we simply spotlight our favorite general release from the previous week, regardless of format.
With that new framework in mind, Slow Meadow's 17-minute, five-track By the Ash Tree EP stands out. Comprised of an intro, an outro, two reworks, and one new song, Texan composer Matt Kidd pares back the walls of sound he built on 2019's Happy Occident (also an excellent album), to instead utilize stripped-down acoustic piano. The songs are delicate and feel sparse, much like the exposed tree limbs found on the album artwork. And while trees elicit many different responses from those who seek their company (see Richard Powers' The Overstory), Kidd's music paints the ash as a companion in the way many trees are - silent but strong, always a source of comfort.