CD Cover Forest for the Trees

Review by Darren Kerr

45-second excerpt from "Dream" (various formats)

If Alan Parsons had created his Tales of Mystery and Imagination in this era of sample-heavy trip-pop, it might have sounded something like this.

Karl Stephenson is one of the people responsible for Beck's turning point release, Mellow Gold. Deciding that he, too, should trip the light self-indulgent, Stephenson created his own magnum opus, Forest for the Trees, the making of which drove the man to a nervous breakdown. It's not hard to imagine why, given the range of this record. It is all over the map: Savage Garden-esque pop, trance monotone, Lou Barlow on a bender, Negativland, eastern psychedelia...

Like Spookey Ruben, but deeper, this takes a few listens to sink in, but Stephenson's loopy mantras and Mark Peterson's elastic bass lines and sinewy guitar draw you in, even as you're saying "Whaaa?!?"

First published in Drop-D Magazine on November 9, 1997

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