Clint Heidorn's "The Oak Tree" exquisitely-packaged cassette

NewImageEarlier this year, my friends at Aquarius Records informed me of a beautiful and strangely-packaged LP called Atwater by an artist I'd never heard of, Clint Heidorn. The hand-stained black record sleeve had a cross made from actual branches glued to it. No, the music wasn't black metal but rather stunning, minimalist, folk-drone doused with ambient field recordings and ghostly shimmers. Now, less than 6 months later, I've received the magnificent follow-up to Atwater. Titled "+33° 58' 41​.​85", -117° 49' 13​.​74" (The Oak Tree)," this recording arrived in the form of a hand-stained and screened wooden box with a black and white image of a tree encased in the lid. Inside the box were six photo prints, a small pile of oak leaves, and a canvas bag containing an audio cassette of the music -- Heidorn's hazy, guitar-based ambience (with haunting vocals and some woodwinds?) on side A and, on side B, a field recording taken beside the tree that inspired this project.

The tree, Heidorn says, "is near my childhood home in suburban Los Angeles County, where I spent much of my youth dreaming. As time passes, as I get older and more nostalgic for a time before the creeping cynicism of adult life, I've come to think of that oak tree as the best possible location to have my ashes spread: The place where the world opened up, before I knew how easily it could close. It's a wish to go back to a simpler time, and reconnect with the sense of possibility and mystery that is a hallmark of childhood."

The Oak Tree is available in several limited editions, from the $20 wooden box that I received to a $5 silkscreened cardboard sleeve to an edition of four that Heidorn buried in unusual Southern California locations. Based on directions to those spots, three of the packages have already been retrieved. If you can find the last one, it's free. You could also just download the digital album for $1 from Bandcamp, but, well… I've been carrying around the wooden box for a month sharing it with anyone who will listen to the story of this wonderful objet d′art.

Clint Heidorn: "+33° 58' 41​.​85", -117° 49' 13​.​74" (The Oak Tree)"


  1. love the aesthetic – even if it treads dangerously close to hipster levels of preciousness / pretentiousness (cassettes?? – rad! music recording formats as tactile, collectable, art objects is neat). cascadian black metal – unplugged, perhaps.  

    1.  Certain kinds of music actually lend themselves well to cassettes… they have certain qualities that really help color the sound a certain way. It’s also better sounding than MP3s until they degrade in certain ways.

  2. Cassette is a bit of a problem, simply because me, like so very many others haven’t had a cassette player in well over a decade, and once i noticed that 128kbs mp3s sound a lot better (yes that is a statement on how crap i think cassettes are) i ditched the tapes as well. Good luck finding a player in stores as well.

  3. When you buy the wooden box edition (which I just did) you can also download the track, so you have the best of both worlds. 

    I really like the idea of having a copy on cassette.  Makes me think of the similarity between the slow soft decay of both leaves and magnetic media.  Good art makes ya think about stuff like that.

  4. This reminds me of “The New World” by A Death Cinematic, on the Simple Box Construction label. The release not only arrives in a handmade wooden box, but also contains a hand-made, hand-stiched (!) book of photos with this really clever stamp art– the artist cut or tore small chunks from the stamp after each inking/press, so as you flip the pages of the book, the complete stamped image slowly forms out of the initial degraded noise. Past releases on the label have included homemade stickers, different sort of interesting papers and sleeves, etc. It’s pretty cool stuff, and the music is excellent as well.

  5. Interesting choice of materials for the project. Kind of hope he used sustainable wood for the box, given the choice of musical topic. Not sure what folk/drone is, but sounds like it could be interesting

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