Meeting with a Judas Tree

Nov 18, 2022
Web Exclusive

By Michelle Dalarossa

Passive listeners, turn back now. South London-based Duval Timothy’s fourth studio album, Meeting with a Judas Tree, is a swirling montage of structured composition and ambient electronica, a free-formed and dynamic rendering of emotional vitality that calls for close listening.

Written, produced, and recorded by Timothy and released via his Carrying Colour label, the album pieces together moments and memories from three years’ worth of travels, incorporating field recordings of natural life and everyday scenes from London, Sierra Leone, and Italy into his piano-driven arrangements. It’s a subtly powerful way of bringing his exploration of the natural environment to listeners while drawing them into the introspection and intimacy of his work.

It’s also just one of the many elements he uses to texture the contours of his soundscape. On “Up,” recordings of fuzzy voices and distant laughter lend a cassette-tape warmth to a measured piano, with added static and glitch giving it a warped and bumpy edge. Lead single “Mutation” sees astral, elastic electronics coupled with twanging guitars and squiggling synths, once again anchored by a persistent piano. Timothy’s compositions are playful and experimental, but thoughtfully so. He dampens sounds only to sharpen them a moment later, sinking into meditative melodies only to redirect them into staccato progressions.

The result is music as textured as stucco, but the kind that demands one’s full attention. Otherwise, it becomes all too easy to dismiss its ambient aspect as hypnotic droning, or for its experimentalism to seem chaotic. But, above all, Timothy’s work is loaded with emotion and expressiveness, and those that commit to intentional listening will be rewarded with a piece of music that is intelligent and soulful, even at only six tracks long. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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