Forest Magic
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Forest Magic

Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Rock Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Forest Magic Redefines Music In Chattanooga"

By Xan Gwaltney

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — A group of UTC graduates has been entertaining and engaging audiences like no other local act as it enters it fourth year performing as Forest Magic.

The band formed in the fall of 2006 including members of established bands Suomi, Tremont Beauty Salon, and Brokedown Delorean. While Forest Magic has at times included as many as nine members, the current core group consists of guitarist and lead vocalist Joshua Bennett, bass player Allen Hartley, violinist and keyboardist Allie Stafford, guitarist Nick Turner, and drummer Joel White.
They have taken a communal approach to making music, focusing less on songwriting and more on the creation of an environment through their music. Stafford, a 2007 graduate, recalls her introduction to the group as an opportunity to share musical ideas and “create something positive.” Bennett, a 2006 graduate, says that Forest Magic was actually “a concept before there was a single note played.”
Bennett describes the band’s approach as a redefinition of folk music that is less concerned with a specific sound, but with the idea of detachment from popular music and a rediscovering and reinvention of music through communal learning and collaboration.
Turner, a 2009 graduate, says having the concept before the music helped give them direction. He says there was never an effort to commercialize the group. Instead, he says, they made music for themselves, and committed to having “a positive impact on each other.”
The result is an organic experience in which Turner says music is “a form of meditation or a religion of sorts.” In a sense, it’s gospel music, just not like you’ve ever heard it before.
The band’s first album was released in the fall of 2009 and reflected the group’s eclectic and conceptual nature. Turner says even the title, Is Energy, refers to the band’s music being “more of an emotional thing rather than just writing songs.”

Forest Magic's Debut LP - Is Energy

More often than not, comparisons are based on the concept and experience of Forest Magic, rather than on its sound. Admittedly, that sound can be hard to pinpoint, as the group regularly crosses genres and defies classification. The closest comparisons would be to Animal Collective’s layered rhythmic and melodic blend of neo-folk, noise rock, and psychedelia; however, Forest Magic’s sound often includes elements of the chiming, atmospheric textures of Sigur Ros and the ambient post-rock of Godspeed, You Black Emperor!, as well as aspects of various types of world music.
Although the concept is rooted in the folk tradition, the band is more often found nodding along to Wu-Tang than Woody Guthrie. And their wide range of influences is reflected in an eclectic sonic mixture.

Forest Magic now boasts a catalog of close to 50 songs, and fans can expect to see another album plus individual EPs from group members in the coming months. Fans can also expect more performances at JJ’s Bohemia where Forest Magic gained notoriety during a resurgent period for the Chattanooga music scene that saw the rise of such local staples as Moonlight Bride, Coral Castles, and Night of the Wolf.

While the band members do not expect to always stay together in their current form, Turner says “we’ll always be personally and musically connected.”
Listening to Forest Magic and experiencing a live show, audiences can expect to feel the same way.
- The Loop


IS ENERGY was sent to me by Josh of this five-piece Chattanooga band. I can honestly say he gave me a real challenge when attempting to write about FOREST MAGIC’s sound. The first track, “SONAR SWELL” screams post-rock, but following track, “RETURN STROLL”, breaks into crazy math-folk beats . Eventually they go back to a post-rock theme but it never stays constant, which makes this an interesting album. It’s spontaneous and ever-changing, but it’s never done in a bad way that bothers you, more a way that excites your ears. The stand-out track for me was “DESIGNED”, with its building guitar tones and exceptionally beautiful strings arrangement. FOREST MAGIC can’t seem to find a sound, but that’s exactly what makes them unique. Whether going from folk, to math-rock, to psych-pop, to post-rock, they sound comfortable in any of the music they are making.
- THE NOISE IS (Jeff Mather)

"IS ENERGY (Album review)"

The idea behind the fascinating Chattanooga quintet Forest Magic helps explain why its music is hard to pin down: The concept is that the group is actually from the future, sifting through the remains of the past and shaping them into something new. For a time, it seemed like the band would approach each live performance with a different method, sometimes making a rhythmic maelstrom, and other times focusing on non-linear pop structures. However, the group’s main features were always present, with a combination of both organic and artificial sounds and a compelling drive, and every member brings a vital component to the sound balance.
For the outfit’s debut album, Is Energy, the key elements are there, but there’s a different sonic environment at work; it’s a clean recording with a bit of self-control, bringing the center of attention to the songs themselves, and synthetics are used sparingly. Live, the vocals are sometimes treated with echo effects, and the rhythm section dominates the sound. On record, the violin is a more prominent instrument, and the vocals and lyrics aren’t obscured. There are roughly three kinds of songs on Is Energy, and the structured, vibrant numbers comprise the meat of the album. Also featured are ambient sound punctuation, such as the opening piece and the mid-album “Protector,” and spontaneous alternate-world primitive folk songs like “O” and “It Is Good.” Highlights include the spry, constantly shifting, nearly eight-minute “Return/Stroll,” which is possibly the band’s most complex track, and the piercing “Teeth,” featuring some feral vocals.
After hearing some of these songs frequently live, it’s nice to have satisfying recordings of them, but it’s important to point out that it doesn’t provide a total picture; one might even go so far as to say that it isn’t quite representative of the band’s live shows, which have defined the group so far. In a way, much of Is Energy is perhaps like the band’s own personal time capsule, presenting the source material before it is re-imagined and sculpted, to confound easy definition.
-Ernie Paik - Chattanooga Pulse


IS ENERGY, released 2010
Return/Stroll, Designed, Wonder If, and Family available to hear on our EPK.

Elkehkeh's solo EP

DOLPHIN MOUTH's solo EP (out Nov. 2nd, 2010)

TENNESTHESIA Compilaiton album on MEMETIC SOCIETY upcoming...



We are our land.
We are the universe.
We love mathematics.
We seek the next step.
We favor simple familiarity.
We communally write songs.
We are inspired by our surroundings.
We are aware of the sublime unknown.
We are hundreds of years of Southern Music.
We are nestled by the arms of the Tenn. Valley.
We tell stories where the details are always changing.