A pale, fading light sinks its sharp fangs into the forest. Mute Forest’s Deforestation abides inside. In small but noticeable degrees the light changes. It’s the unstoppable intrusion of an approaching dusk. The night walks closer and closer until it claims the soil-covered textures and the lighter, leaf-shaded colours, dragging them into its dark lair. Sometimes, the night goes on forever.
The haunting vocal on ‘Deforestation’ startles the black, winged shadows from the treetops. Shady arpeggios stay around, but they are pushed to the background as the lyrics enter. It’s an unexpected treat hearing the darkened, October-scented song so soon in the record. The vocal is a fiery torch that sends the darkness running. It leads the way past the gigantic, statuesque trunks and the rustling, papyrus-thin and still-sleepy ambient layers. We’d be lost without the light. The subdued vocals could be the presence (or, more likely, the constant interference and the devastating intrusion) of man in what used to be an entirely natural environment, but he has a lot to say. The thoughtful vocals are a clasped hand in the dark, providing safety and comfort. ‘Faith can die like trees’ during a particularly cold spell. There’s a stark sense of loss as he ushers out his tired lyrics. The night has killed its prey.
Dulled beats thump against the side of the tree. It’s a chainsaw-led torture that takes place against the side of an ancient trunk crippled by disease. Thump, thump, thump. Knock, knock, knock. Lovely ambient atmospherics dart in and out of the forest like fluttering birds on their way to another tree. And the lighter ambient layers are able to lift the music as if on a pair of wings. It might be more like a levitation at a low altitude, because the darker textures are always there. Like The Blair Witch Project, the vocals continuously circle the woods, lost and anchored to acres of solid ground. The leaves droop down, inquisitive of this presence in their restful place.
Rain falls. Steady, rainy fountains drip from the cavernous walls, the cold rocks as wet as tears. The piano soaks the music with its rainy mood, covering the lighter, glowing aura that still emanates weakly around ‘I Will Never Fully Remember the Way’. The piano’s notes drip into deep tonal puddles that reflect the black, unseeing mirror of the night.
Acoustic guitars gently burn like cosy campfires as they lay beside the warm drones, and the guitars move into the centre during the second half of the record. They dreamily sway in the air. Lovely, deep crackles scurry like insects among the soil in ‘Distracted by My Contorted Reflection’. It’s such a warm, vinyl-nostalgic sound and it adds a significant amount of detail to the music. You can almost burrow into it. The music’s alive, and the crackles that flit around the descending piano melody are completely natural carvings. These textures are more romantic; after all, the forest has a pristine, everlasting beauty. Deforestation doesn’t shy away from challenging issues and emotions. Thanks to man, the forest is blackening in more ways than one.