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Album cover, taken from a painting by Will Cullen Hart.

Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One
(sometimes simply referred to either as Black Foliage, Animation Music Volume One or Black Foliage: Animation Music) is the second album by Athens, GA experimental pop group the Olivia Tremor Control. It was released in 1999. Like their previous record, Dusk at Cubist Castle, Black Foliage features a combination of pop songs combined with field recordings and sound collages. Moreso than in their first record, Black Foliage is a heavily concept-driven album, where the group experimented with field recordings, tape loops and sound manipulation, primarily inspired by co-leader Will Cullen Hart's love for musique concrète.

Concept Edit

Black Foliage is a concept album, according to the band. The plentiful sound distortions that exist in and in between all the tracks are meant to invoke "animation," and according to Will Cullen Hart, the noise is "sound personified." Along with that, the multiple tracks on the album sample each other- especially the six "Black Foliage" tracks, which are all variations on the same theme and sample from each other and other tracks on the album.

The concept is further explained in the album's liner notes:

Another Set of Bees in the Museum03:35

Another Set of Bees in the Museum

The idea as Black Foliage began was to take a section of the guitar line from "Black Foliage" (Now called "Itself") and make a set of animated departures stemming from that bass guitar melody, twisting it to many variations. As time moved on, the animation sections became intermingled with our daily lives, we added new hunks of sound everyday, the animation sections began to include pieces of each other, example: the vocals from 1 were reshaped and sampled into 2. That reworking would be used again reshaped for 3, etc. As the other songs began to take shape, we began extracting elements of them, example: horns from "Hideway" and string part from "A Sleepy Company." As each each song became integrated as a whole into the new songs, edits became edits within edits... Which birthed "Combinations" - pieces of songs melodies vocal parts, drum fills, etc. become electronic interludes that are derived from the songs themselves, all of which are in various states of becoming or drifting back from animation. Including dreams along the way from our "send us your dream" appeal careful thought was also considered as to making the music pulse with the rhythm of modern life, at times things seem quiet, or multiple sounds merge... Let your environments in...

Collaborators Edit

Aside from the core Olivia Tremor Control members (Bill Doss, Will Cullen Hart, Peter Erchick, Eric Harris and John Fernandes), the album features a large list of appearances from other Elephant 6 names.

  • Julian Koster - Vocals on "California Demise 3" and "Hilltop Procession"; Banjo on "The Sylvan Screen"; Magnus Organ on "A Place We Have Been To"; Saw on "I Have Been Floated"; Accordion on "Black Foliage (Itself)," "The Sylvan Screen" and "California Demise 3"
  • Jeff Mangum - Vocals on "I Have Been Floated" and "Hilltop Procession"; Melodies on "A Sleepy Company"; Percussion on "Grass Cannons"; "Generous loan of sound effects library for this project"
  • Eric Ledford - Cello on "A Sleepy Company"; Cello sampled from his contribution to The Late Music by The Black Swan Network sampled in multiple tracks
  • Robert Schneider - Vocals on "A Sleepy Company"; Guitar on "A New Day"
  • Scott Spillane - Trumpet, Euphorium & Bungle on "Hideway," "A New Day," "The Sylvan Screen," "California Demise 3" and "Mystery"
  • Kirk Pleasant - Trombone on "A Peculiar Noise Called "Train Director"," "Hideway," "A New Day," "I Have Been Floated" and "California Demise 3"
  • John D'azzo - Vocals on "California Demise 3" and "Hilltop Procession"; Acoustic Guitar on "Hideway"
  • Robbee Cucchiaro - Vocals on "Hilltop Procession"
  • Bryan Helium (Bryan Poole) - Vocals on "I Have Been Floated"; Acoustic Guitar on "Hideway"
  • Kevin Barnes - Vocals on "I Have Been Floated," "California Demise 3" and "Hilltop Procession"; Acoustic Guitar on "Hideway"
  • Josh McKay - Vibraphone on "Grass Cannons"
  • Kai Reidel - Xylophone and Selemintan on "Grass Cannons"
  • Jeremy Barnes - Intro Percussion on "Grass Cannons"
  • Laura Carter - Vocals on "I Have Been Floated" and "Hilltop Procession"; Percussion on "Hilltop Procession"
  • Andrew Reiger - Vocals on "I Have Been Floated"
  • Erin Rodriguez - Vocals on "I Have Been Floated"
  • Christopher Hart - Diving on "The Bark and Below It"
  • Jennifer Olliff - Vocals on "Hilltop Procession"
  • Maggie Wright, Emily Grace McMullion, Hideki Ito, Ralfe Friel, Jack Chang, Josh Bearman and Troy Elyea - "Dream Tapes" sampled most prominently on "Hilltop Procession" and "Combinations"

Critical Reception Edit

  • Pitchfork - 9.1/10 (Original release); 9.4/10 (2011 Reissue)
  • Piero Scaruffi - 7/10
  • AllMusic - 4/5

Track Listing Edit

Lead vocalist/songwriter indicated in parentheses.

Side 1 Edit

  1. Opening - 0:29
  2. A Peculiar Noise Called "Train Director" - 3:02 (W. Hart)
  3. Combinations - 0:04
  4. Hideway - 2:34 (B. Doss)
  5. Black Foliage (Animation 1) - 1:11
  6. Combinations - 0:14
  7. The Sky Is a Harpsichord Canvas - 0:04
  8. A Sleepy Company - 3:40 (W. Hart)
  9. Grass Cannons - 3:21 (W. Hart)

Side 2 Edit

  1. A New Day - 2:29 (B. Doss)
  2. Combinations - 0:15
  3. Black Foliage (Animation 2) - 1:23
  4. I Have Been Floated - 3:39 (P. Erchick)
  5. Paranormal Echoes - 3:30 (W. Hart)
  6. Black Foliage (Animation 3) - 0:44
  7. A Place We Have Been To - 2:25 (B. Doss)

Side 3 Edit

  1. Black Foliage (Itself) - 2:54 (W. Hart)
  2. The Sylvan Screen - 6:07 (B. Doss)
  3. The Bark and Below It - 11:24
  4. Black Foliage (Animation 4) - 1:36

Side 4 Edit

  1. California Demise 3 - 2:46 (B. Doss)
  2. Looking for Quiet Seeds - 3:13 (W. Hart)
  3. Combinations - 0:11
  4. Mystery - 3:25 (W. Hart)
  5. Another Set of Bees in the Museum - 3:07 (W. Hart)
  6. Black Foliage (Animation 5) - 2:08
  7. Hilltop Procession (Momentum Gaining) - 3:21 (B. Doss)

Olivia Tremor Control Releases

<<< Music from the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996) | Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One | The Same Place (2015)  >>>

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