"Imagine a parallel universe where Brian WIlson and Van Dyke Parks had been allowed to complete Smile in 1967; where Mike Love's objections were recognised for the mewling drivel they were, and the album became a global smash hit. Now imagine that a Capitol Records executive had been dispatched 12 months later to ask a fully-functioning Brian if he could deliver more of the same - only this time to make it even further out. Wim Oudijk's 'Tree' is what it would have sounded like."
- Chris Evans, Journalist & Broadcaster (The Curve Ball, WCR FM)
An introduction to Wim's World.
First and foremost a precedent should be established. Wim is in truth the nearest composer we have to a Dutch Louis-Moreau Gottschalk, Charles Ives or even Sir Malcolm Arnold, in that his Art both encapsulates and simultaneously recreates what it means to compose within the ferment that personifies his country's musical identity, but he is far more than the sum of his influences. Welding together the delicacy of Brian Wilson's calmest SMiLE compositions through the bizarre stylings of his avowed mentor [and friend] Van Dyke Parks, Mort Garson and the eerie White Noise whilst ignoring all the "rules" of composition to create a new and entirely unique form of 21st Century classicism... and in truth trumping all his mentors along the way.
So what is Tree?...
Aside from being 46 minutes of peerless craftmanship, is it an attempt to convey Wim's ecological purview through a miasma of musical creativity or in truth is just the last gasp of the type of exploratory Genius that dissolved as pop turned to prog? In many respects it’s both but also there are moments of such aching vocal and compositional beauty that Tree should become the yardstick by which all future pioneers should be judged.
An overview of each track is as futile as it is worthless, all you need are ears. If you are new to Wim's World then this is the finest of introductions. For the legions of the converted its more, much more, than anything Wim has lent his bountiful gifts to thus far. There had been hushed whispers eminating from all points of the compass regarding the mutatis mutandis Wim had been making to bring Tree to fruition, parts leaked out on various web pages but I restrained my almost soul stripping desire to listen. Content to wait with baited breath for the full, finalised, chef-d'oeuvre...the wait was rewarded many times over. In many respects Tree being released at Christmas is almost apposite... Wim has delivered a beautiful gift to the world.
In summation, Tree reclassifies what has, till now, defined and been accepted as Pop Art. It is hopefully the first step on a road of creativity that Wim's peers will follow, a work of gentle genius created, sculptured and delivered by one of the 21st Century's genuine virtuosos.