CD Review

Bed of Roses - "The Kissing Tree"

By Dan Century

The Kissing TreeBed of Roses is a side project of My Scarlet Life keyboardist Preston Klik, recorded in collaboration with many musical friends and other MSL members. Preston, for those who don't recognise his name, is known for his session work - contributing to recordings by bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and Ministry - and his label, DivaNation, which has the potential to become the next Wax Trax or 4AD.

The Kissing Tree is the first Bed of Roses album and it is decidedly different from My Scarlet Life. Bed Of Roses lacks the pop song structure and tremendous female vocals of Julie* and Christy of MSL. Like MSL the music displays a broad range of influence and an amazing talent. Preston orchestrates pianos, sitars, strings, guitars, chants, electronics, exotic percussion, the sounds of Chicago during a rainstorm (very cool) and even real parakeets, with a very experimental, purposeful, but never abrasive sound. Preston collaborators include Julie, Paul and Amy from My Scarlet Life, Lisa Feuer from black tape for a blue girl, and guitar legend Fareed Haque.

The music, purposely so, has a truly "cinematic," emotion stirring feel. If you let yourself get sucked into it you'll definitely feel your emotions rising and falling with the music. In the liner notes Preston suggests you listen to the album with headphones on, perhaps to give the music your full attention, or so you can experience every nuance, but you'd be missing a lot if you didn't listen to this album in your car or through your stereo's speakers. Definitely share the experience with a friend.

The Kissing Tree is the type of album you will want to listen to the whole record at once as the individual songs compliment each other in tone and mood. The album moves from song to song as a movie progresses scene to scene. It's a good record to chill out after a long night. A good record to "come down" to. It Glows In My Hand is the only song that stands apart from the rest - a trance inducing song with many layers of instrumentation including standout bubbling, popping synths, and some creepy spoken word from frequent DivaNation contributor TheImmortalSavant. The chord progression on the title track, the Kissing Tree, is real tasty, elegant and definitely inspirational.

I personally prefer more density and electronics to the ambient and cinematic music I listen to. The album could use a little "weirdness" too, but that's how I like it.

Fans of Bill Laswell and Brian Eno's more cohesive work will enjoy this album for it's experimental and collaborative flavor. Fans of My Scarlet Life shouldn't pass it up either. I wouldn't be surprised if Klik and his pals get commissioned to score some films.

* Julie does appear on the title track, the Kissing Tree.

** Note that I wrote this review under the influence of two packs of Tera-flu, which compliments the music nicely.

Contact Information
DivaNation Records
5602 N. Ridge
Chicago, IL 60660