Spontaneous Sound

Spontaneous Sound

There’s a foot of snow outside, my turntable has a new motor and I’m seasonally unemployed – that must mean it’s time for some archiving.

There isn’t much information around on Christopher Tree, who also performed under the name Spontaneous Sound. Regardless of one’s opinion on late-20th-century appropriation of a dog’s breakfast of ‘eastern mysticism’, Christopher Tree admirably spent much of his time practicing early forms of music therapy, playing concerts for prisoners and the less than privileged, and hosting youth workshops. Of the hundreds of concerts he played, only a handful of recordings have appeared. Perhaps best known is the live recording of his performance At The Cathedral Of St. John The Divine, co-released in 2002 by Quakebasket (recently resurrected) and Locust Music (since AWOL). There is also a recent CD of studio recordings on Cardas Audio.

Christopher Tree – Spontaneous Sound, Los Angeles, 1966

As for releases contemporaneous with his most active era, I can find only two. An 8″ flexidisc (sampled below) that seems to be in promotion of an album that was never released, and the self-titled and self-released Spontaneous Sound, which I’m sharing here. Comprised mostly of percussive elements with the odd woodwind, the music is commendable for its dynamic range and diverse song structure – think Michael Ranta rather than Gamelan Son Of Lion.


Unfortunately the last owner of this record appeared to play only side A, and many times over at that. Side B is in much better condition. The quality of the recording itself, and duration of its works, leads me to believe this is a studio recording as opposed to a live take as on At The Cathedral… Discogs implies there are 3 tracks on side B, though I was only able to find one obvious break, and the files reflect that.

Get it here.