Since Napster first made waves with peer-to-peer file sharing, the death of the album as a format has been widely reported. Every so often, a newspaper article or essay will surface, proclaiming the long player to be dead or dying as we enter a new era of standalone MP3s ruling the market. Whether or not the medium is on the way out is something still up for debate, but the craft of making one looks a long way from being obsolete.
In fairness, a single track is more than enough to get you hooked on Ann Arbor’s Kohwi, a bristling with energy, a barrage of inspired electronica almost invariably filling up the three minutes and however many seconds of the songs. But piece 9 of them together and you’ve got more than a few decent tracks – you have an ebb and flow, a journey that begs you to come along for the ride – and Hidden Trees is an adventure well worth experiencing. Largely experimental, some sections sound like they’ve been recorded underwater, others like they were put together in caverns, and the final flourish on a piano would feel at home in music hall. The album may, one day, eventually die off – but aural narratives like this never will.