One of my favorite aspects about dungeon synth was the sense of quiet escapism the genre offered. One can page through my previous 36 volumes of Dungeon Synth Digest to find my interest gravitating towards sounds that were isolated and self entertaining. This genre is really at its best when it is sketching by itself in a cornerand I feel I gravitate towards introverted sounds. I have been finding myself recently interested in checking in with some of the more popular dungeon synth releases. This I feel will help the sense of dreaded burnout when it comes to enjoying music that lies between waking and the realm of sleep. If The Obsolescent Arborist would be included in one of my Digests, I would have written a short paragraph about the hazy sounds of dreams. Perhaps now I can expand upon my thoughts with a release which brings a sense of nostalgia for a sound I still love dearly.
Dungeon synth is a personal sound. I am sure it is many thing to different people but for me it has always been a bedroom genre that has constructed soundscapes for the individual. Whether the audience is a hundred or one, dungeon synth operates with the assumption that no one is listening and that is fine. I first found this genre as if stumbling upon personal collections of homemade fantasy music and these artists were sharing their secrets. I offer this thought as a prelude to an album which I feel captures this type of contemplative excitement as the translucent sounds of Tree, Timber and Forest not only are enticing but come close to the reason why I was drawn to the genre in the first place.
The Obsolescent Arborist is one of the names for various projects by J. Browne. I was already familiar with the other names from Borwne as Embers of Tara and Shelter Ov Shadows were additions in the Dungeon Synth Compilation project. Embers of Tara’s Realm of Sleep (2017) was a nightmarish wonderland of wobbly synth and uncanny procession which captured the feeling of ballroom music played by specters. The Obsolescent Arborist continues these meditations in The Obsolescent Arborist just now with a warmer and quieter disposition. With a modest running time of 20 or so minutes, Tree, Timber and Forest captures the magic of being by itself with sounds that are meant for a quiet cabin in the middle of a morning snowfall. While the sounds on this tape are cozy and somewhat distant, Tree, Timber, and Forest exists in the oblivion of emotion as strong feelings are traded for quiet non existence.
One of the sounds which initially brought me to dungeon synth and one that keeps me anchored is the ones of isolation. There has been much discussion on the nature of bedroom quality and lo-fi production and while deep sounds certainly work, I find myself infatuated with worn and weathered sounds. The Obsolescent Arborist continues this love with a lo-fi declaration which is perhaps not louder that the crack of a branch crashing to the soft earth already muted by thick falling snow.