Our micro-blogosphere has been rightly buzzing with the news of the Ya Ho Wha 13's upcoming visit to NYC in April. K and B both have excellent posts dedicated to the lovely California commune/music group. All the excitement has reminded me of my own favorite 70's collective The Trees Community.
Founded in 1970 in New York City, Trees Community (or Trees as they are often cited) were a Christian musical commune that lived in an abandoned loft while rehearsing and recording in a basement space in St. John the Divine Cathedral. In 1971 they "embarked on a pilgrimage without a destination," traveling from church to church in a converted yellow school bus, spreading the good word and their joyous sounds.
I have a sweet place in my heart for Christian Psychedelic Folk, but their music really transcends that or any other category. Their 1975 album The Christ Tree has some of the most beautiful and sweeping harmonies imaginable, mixed with plenty of haunting free-folk freak outs. On their myspace page they list Balinese Music, Indian Classical Music, Claude Debussy, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich as some of their influences and upon first listen they are all too clear. While they incorporated over 80 instruments from around the world, sitar and harp arrangements figure prominently and to great affect. Rejoice!
PS: Some songs are posted on the myspace page linked above, but for a full copy go HERE