Charles Trees. Myth, tall tale, legend of a human being, one of those people who one minute you'll be scouring reddit for obscure content and the next, stepping on stage to casually DJ to thousands of people like “no big whoop” at a French music festival. Charles is unassuming, the kind of person who effortlessly mixes ghettotech into soul for lulz, who samples a speech (/rant) by Funkmaster Flex in an acid track, or rides BMG & Derek Plaslaiko’s “True Story of a Detroit Groove” with Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray” for 8 minutes straight.
Charles' relationship with electronic music started early. In high school, Dave Shayman (Disco D) introduced Charles to DJing and he was a regular at Dubplate Pressure*– Todd Osborn's now-legendary record store in Ann Arbor. By 1998, he was already playing on raves in Detroit. A year later, he was the first person to show Zach Saginaw (Shigeto) to Ghostly International, arguably altering the course of our lives forever. In the late 2000s, they became label mates on Moodgadget, the record label of Jakub Alexander (Heathered Pearls).
Through out the years, Charles has been a musical mentor (whether DJing, producing or throwing shows) to many, danced at every weekly at every venue in Ann Arbor & Detroit, produced Hip Hop, and fronted a psych rock band. He has released music on Moodgadget (US), Musique Large (FR), Lovemonk (ES), Vanity Press (US) and JFX Lab (FR). Today, between DJing, hosting radio shows and producing new music, Charles regularly throws shows/parties/raves, and hosts a monthly at Deluxx Fluxx.
We love Charles Trees and we're proud to present "2019," the eighth record on Portage Garage Sounds.
*Additional reading: Dubplate Pressure: was the precursor to Technical Equipment Supply; how Todd Osborn was discovered by Richard D. James and signed to Rephlex Records; where Sam Valenti IV, the founder of Ghostly International, met Tadd Mullinix (Dabrye, JTC, Charles Manier, X-Altera); one of the reasons why we're all here
Hit the ground running.
Chopped up vocal stabs and a playful syncopated melody accompany this percussion heavy two-step shuffle as it speeds down the Lodge on a Friday night in Detroit.
Undeniable rhythm section pocket.
Acoustic bass and dirty ride symbols swing alongside lush keyboards and sprinkles of light melodicism in this psych house banger.
Think St. Germain with CAN playing a warped version of "Rose Rouge."
Crave the rave. Whips crack and sizzle in this dubbed out techno slapper. A modern take on a classic sound. Trees conjures an era close to his heart: when the warehouse was church and service didn't stop until the sun came up.
"Acja feat. Marcus Elliot ("12 club mix)
Beautifully understated and triumphant.
This closer marks the return of Detroit Saxophonist Marcus Elliot (Detroit pt II - PGS 001). His notes dance and soar over a creeping acid line, while driving drums and warm pads effortlessly take you home in this powerful house anthem.
released May 3, 2019
Written, Mixed and Produced by Charles Trees
Tenor Saxophone on "Acja" by Marcus Elliot
Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann at Complete USA
Design by Ben Saginaw + Vinnie Massimino
These guys are near and dear to me, as they play the sort of post-Boards of Canada analog synth music that is (truly) psychedelic and seems to yearn for the outdoors despite its synthetic nature. Strap on your vocoder and bandana and come for a frolic through a sunny meadow. This thing breathes and seethes like simmering summer heat blurring off a sidewalk. bvck