hitide.lotide
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hitide.lotide

Brookfield, Wisconsin, United States

Brookfield, Wisconsin, United States
Band Folk Acoustic

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"Hitide.Lotide’s New EP Cross-Legged an Honest Treat"

Nate Gruber’s 2008 debut under the moniker Hitide.lotide was an emotional journey full of layers of mellow guitars and piano, among other instruments, thoughtful lyrics, and, well…. animals.

The Forest depicted the story of a koala wandering about a forest, through the melodious pleas and musings of many different forest animals, such as “The Owl,” “The Beaver,” “The Loon,” and “The Tortoise,” to name but a few. A unique and curious concept album, to say the least.

Nate’s newest batch of songs is not quite on the same scale of conceptuality and artistry, though musically, it is hopefully a sign of good things to come. Cross-Legged is a four-song EP that was recorded as a gift for family and friends a month ago. The songs were recorded and mixed in just two days, and yet, production-wise, they are a mildly significant step up from The Forest. The dryer and warmer overall mix Nate has come up with in Cross-Legged provides that charming reassurance of professionalism that The Forest was at times lacking.

Nate’s soft, personal voice, and alluring acoustic guitar supply the listener to a fine escape from the daily hassles and stress of a busy schedule. The background piano adds texture to the compositions, and reminds me of Sufjan Stevens’ arrangements and musicianship.

Each song is personal in its own right, as in “Beaded Blood” when Gruber softly sings, “What I hope is true, what I see is you; what I hope is true, what I dream is of you.” With “In 6/8,” Gruber closes the short album with more of the same delicate acoustic picking and soft melodies, singing “I couldn’t believe your love” – but not before he treats us to a minute-long jazzy horns-led interlude partnered alongside the guitar and piano. A gratifying touch.

Nothing flashy here, just honest and mellow acoustic folk. Hitide.lotide’s next full length album should be a treat. - Noisecake


"Hitide.Lotide provide us a gift in the new EP “Cross-Legged”"

Musical recommendations are the best. Especially when they come in the “full circle” style. I recommended (or posted on) hitide.lotide previously and in turn when a new EP came out, it was recommended back to me from someone I “recommended” them to. You see where I am going with this, right? Oh, and I say it is a “gift” as originally the EP was supposed to be for only family and friends, but alas – we are all family/friends now!!

hitide.lotide is Nate Gruber and his talented friends and they bring you acoustic folk that is soo fragile you fear it just might break if not held close. As noted in my previous post on the great “The Forest” album (HERE) there are notes of Sufjan Stevens and even some Iron & Wine with maybe some flecks of soundscapes a la Peter Broderick. Despite all this “sounds like” stuff, it still feels separate from his contemporaries and is in my opinion a breath of fresh air. If you like dreamy folk with some orchestral moments and finger picking style acoustic guitar, then you will have to have this new EP. Did I also mention that it is a FREE DOWNLOAD over on Last.fm??

Listen to two tracks and tell me you don’t want more…go on, try to tell me. - Slowcoustic


"hitide.lotide's "The Forest""

By: Adam Downer

Summary: An artfully conceived, beautifully crafted, and meticulously structured album that lands the audience in a childhood fairytale that they simply can't escape, even if they wanted to.

If there’s something to be said about the merits of packaging, Nate Gruber could talk for days. Gruber, under the pseudonym hitide.lotide, presents his debut album The Forest in such a way that it becomes nearly impossible to not grow enamored with it. Accompanying The Forest is a cornucopia of goodies, including adorable drawings of forest creatures, an expansive Hundred Acre Wood-type map, and a masterfully written short story, all inherently vital to The Forest’s quality. A concept album, The Forest presents sixteen songs, each sung in the voice of a different forest critter following the path of a disenfranchised Koala Bear who is running away from home after his adopted mother falls ill.

Okay, so it’s a slightly ridiculous concept album.

However, with the right amount of suspended disbelief, The Forest can consistently deliver on a high emotional level. The Forest is a wee bit of a stretch as far as concept records go, but Gruber believes in it enough to bring along (and subsequently totally engulf) the listener. His passion for the story translates to his songwriting, making the music almost as sad as its concept. In fact, listening to the album while following along with the story adds immeasurably to the serene power of the record. It’s refreshing to see someone give so much of a shit about packaging nowadays, and in the case of The Forest, the album’s presentation serves as a fine representation of the music inside. Even before Gruber plays a single note, the expectation for The Forest is that it will be an artfully conceived, beautifully crafted, and meticulously structured album, landing the audience in a childhood fairytale that they simply can't escape, even if they wanted to.

To his credit, Gruber pretty much nails it. With all the bells and whistles accompanying The Forest, a lesser artist could have made an album light on actual music and strong on concepts and artwork. However, as the album progresses, it becomes apparent that Gruber didn’t put any less effort into his music than he did into the awesome packaging of his record. Gruber, a dead ringer for Silversun Pickups’ Brian Aubert, uses his charmingly breathy voice to drive the record through an intimidating sixteen tracks and make what could have been an irritating premise go down smoothly. Having every song supposedly sung from the perspective of a different animal sounds like a schizophrenic hell, yet Gruber uses the concept to forge a new identity with each new track, which is good considering the homogeneity of the actual tunes. Pegged by last.fm as “slow-coustic,” the hitide.lotide sound is more or less Gruber singing a dejected melody that sits comfortably within his range over an assortment of acoustic guitar chords with a different instrument playing a lead part over it all. This lack of variation confines The Forest to a specific feel, but Gruber makes the best of those confines with remarkable lyrical potency and occasionally beautiful melodies. The former of these two is Gruber’s true gift, and with every new song giving him a new personality to adopt (albeit a usually sad/jaded personality), Gruber’s lyrics shine. For example, on “The Owl,” Gruber adopts and humanizes the persona of the title animal, sighing ”What should I do when she tortures me with her beauty tonight?” with such a wistful timbre it makes the track an immediate standout. Granted, most owls probably do not have these thoughts, but that kind of personification is what makes Gruber’s admittedly questionable concept work: Gruber paints human feelings onto animal canvases, making practically every track off The Forest resonate on some emotional level.

For an album with such lofty aspirations, The Forest ultimately doesn’t quite fulfill the promise of the concept. It’s a little too flat to sustain its life through its hour-long running time, and the second half begins to blend together save for an occasional moment here or there. However, that doesn’t mean The Forest holds no value. On the contrary, The Forest is a remarkable debut work that shows enough promise that the expected amount of kinks are ultimately forgivable when considering the grand picture of things. The Forest creates an atmosphere that sounds naïve in its conception but is strikingly adult in its delivery. Each forest animal comes with his/her own set of problems, such as “The Butterfly” and its fear of a cold winter and “The Beaver” and the inanity of its dam-building life. Above all else, the trek of the Koala Bear gives the album a unifying sense of purpose, and the album culminates in the luminous finale “The Eastern Star,” which serves as a sort of Forest-based symbol for faith. The Koala’s ultimate rejection of the Star proves his demise, opening The Forest up to various interpretations over whether or not it’s an allegory of some kind or another. However, therein lays the magic of the record. Like a good novel, The Forest rewards multiple spins because each new listen puts the record in a new light. As Gruber puts it, “The forest comes to life the more time you spend there.” With hitide.lotide as the keeper of The Forest, the time spent there may make one never want to leave. - Sputnik Reviews


"hitide.lotide Invites You to The Forest"

By Ricky Spenner
Sometimes inspiration strikes us in the most curious of ways. Sometimes it leads to something; other times it turns out to be nothing at all. For Milwaukee musician Nate Gruber—known by his pseudonym hitide.lotide.—it all started with a tiny spider.
"There was a day in January 2006 where I had the idea that it'd be cool to write a song from the perspective of a spider living in a forest," said Gruber. "I liked the song and the idea so much that I decided to write a song from the perspective of a Koala. The idea naturally evolved in to what it has become."
The "it" Gruber refers to is his newly released album, "The Forest", a glistening effort decorated with sparkling acoustic guitars, mandolin, flute, Wurlitzer organ, saxophone, group singing, electric guitar flourishes, and subtle percussion. The album's track list features names from animals and characters found throughout The Forest, from "The Fox" to "The Loon". The album essentially follows the Koala and his life throughout The Forest. Gruber has been working on the songs for over two years now, and says having released The Forest has come as a relief.
"It's nice to know that something that seems like it will never come to fruition finally has…this has been a long process and there have been many barriers along the way," said Gruber. "It does feel awesome to have something to give to people that has been such an enormous part of my life."
Gruber's work with The Forest extends far beyond the idea of a concept album, becoming more of a group effort piece. The album release show held at the Miramar Theater in Milwaukee featured a small choir, an accompanied short story written by Gruber's brother, an overhead projected animation, and a collective of musicians bent on bringing The Forest to life. All members involved in the process were dressed in costumes handmade by Gruber's friends, each depicting a different animal in The Forest.
"The show really was amazing for me because that was the first time I had seen all of the costumes together, as well as the backdrop and overhead projection, along with the spoken word and music. It really was incredible how it all came together," said Gruber.
Musically, The Forest is a spectacle all of its own. Each song features instruments and lyrical elements that seamlessly play off of the animal each song represents. Gruber wrote all of the songs himself with the exception of a few lines and animal ideas, while he and his brother Nick came up with the idea to make the Koala the central figure of the album.
The album opens with "The Willow Tree", a quiet, slow-flowing opener. The song provides an excellent introduction to the album as well as giving a basic primer on how Gruber approaches his songs: evenly-strummed acoustic guitars, ethereal organ and steady tambourine/shaker percussion. Gruber rarely strays from this formula throughout The Forest, but he never really has to. He has a strong knack for composing beautiful musical soundscapes that have become all his own. "The Willow Tree" also offers listeners a glimpse of Gruber's vocals, which come off as pensive and uncertain due to his fragile yet soothing voice. When the instruments cut out and Gruber exclaims, "You're not what I expected in the least," it is evident there are still 15 more tacks of goose bumps ahead.
Fans of Sufjan Stevens will feel right at home with "The Koala Travels North", a dissonant piano and electric guitar-fueled track soaked with urgency and uncertainty. On the night of The Forest's release, Gruber explained this as being the first time the Koala encounters snow. The song is much aware of The Forest's surroundings, as Gruber sighs, "You are alive in everything."
"The Hare", arguably one of the album's greatest tracks, probably most effectively ties the instruments used to the song's title character. Jangly mandolins and fluttering flutes paint a picture of a wily rabbit racing though field and meadow while playful saxophones interweave each other, sometimes cutting through the flute with the most innocent of intentions. Gruber's lyrical craft is quite strong here, as he sings, "I'm silly with my tail tangled into a thousand wiry strings." Gruber is not afraid to let his voice shine on this track, and while his loudest register may be subdued by any other standard, "The Hare"'s coda of "You are love!" remains one of the most joyous and jubilant musical moments in recent memory.
Rather than make his messages overt and to the point, Gruber crafts moments like "The Hare" in which he inserts subtle spiritual references, which he feels can make his songs more accessible to more people.
"I've never really enjoyed listening to bands who throw Jesus in people's faces because of how 'bad they are'," said Gruber. "For me, it is very natural to write poetically about faith than to write very directly. For one, the music usually sounds better when you're vague. Secondly, I am a strong believer in people figuring things out for themselves. I have certain beliefs but it doesn't mean that everyone feels the same as me, and if I can sing poetically it can have very deep meaning for some and be completely shallow for others."
Still, Gruber does not hesitate in mentioning the driving factor behind The Forest.
"In my view, my relationship with God is what gave me all of the ability to be able to write these songs," said Gruber. I can say that confidently, as I don't actually recall writing many of the songs and the others who are a part of the group will attest to the fact that they know their abilities come from God."
It is because of strong, confident comments like these that make Gruber's vague poetics even more beautiful. It takes a strong writer to be able to craft lyrics as cryptic as those found in The Forest, and Gruber does not miss the mark.
While The Forest does have its shining moments, its true beauty is found when played from beginning to end. Each minute is soaked in melodic beauty, the story itself changing its meaning with each listen, making the journey into The Forest a trip one will not soon forget.
www.myspace.com/hitidelotide
To order The Forest, please visit itunes, cdbaby.com, or amazon.com - Cardinal Stritch University


"'The Forest' Allures and Enraptures Listeners: A Journey Through the Imagination of hitide.lotide"

By Zachary Hoeppner

On Saturday Aug. 23, with the help of a few forest friends fully clad in finely groomed fur, the forest sprung to life on stage at the Miramar Theater for the CD release of Hitide.Lotide's definitive debut.

Since early 2006, Brookfield, WI native and UW-Eau Claire student Nate Gruber has been carefully sculpting musical compositions under the moniker Hitide.Lotide. His debut release, "The Forest" (2008) is a concept album about forest creatures and the land in which they dwell.

On Saturday Aug. 23, with the help of a few forest friends fully clad in finely groomed fur, the forest sprung to life on stage at the Miramar Theater for the CD release of Hitide.Lotide's definitive debut.

The musicians played in animal costumes and seemed to dance about as Allyson Lassiter and Katie Schaffer created playful animation on the backdrop. With an overhead projector they used shapes cut out of multicolored transparencies. The animation paired with the compositions provided changes of scenery to match the content within each song. This concert was for some the culmination of an entire summer of out-pouring energy, sweat and raw diligence to craft.

"The Forest" is an album that will capture your imagination as you journey into a land filled with beauty and mystery.

It all begins with a song titled the "Willow Tree," a composition that mimics the graceful sway of a willow's sinewy veil. "The Spider" follows suit, building up to an inspired crescendo of raw, yet cohesive energy. Next up was "The Koala," who according to the author, Nate Gruber, is the main character in the forest. The koala embarks on a melancholy and lilting movement, telling the beginning of this Koala's journey through the forest.

"The Owl," poised to capture the ears of even the most impatient listener, takes flight on this dynamic ensemble of musical reverie. Then, filled with darkness, "The Beaver" tells a desperate and eerie tale of promiscuity and the wickedness within a selfish heart.

"The Loon" stretches its neck to share with an audience its gentle song of love.

As a type of grand synthesis to it all, the title track is filled with the joyful sound of flutes and mandolin as this rhythmic composition entices you to stay a while.

The languid pulse of a grand piano echoes as "The Koala Flees" in an attempt to escape the constant light poured out by the eastern star, which you will meet as the album progresses.

With a soft voice, "The Butterfly" delights us with love matched only by the fragility of her wings. And "The Black Bear" speaks out in a playful tune of time spent exploring the forest while close to the one she loves. "The Hare" delivers an irresistible melody backed by charismatic saxophones and a jubilant tambourine.

"The Fox" beckons us to imagine a time when all animals will dance and sing together in forest harmony under the light of the eastern star. The delicate lilting of guitars, saxophones, and choir voices on "The Tortoise" encompass all characteristics of this wise and humble creature.

Notably the most dissonant song on the album, "The Koala Travels North," is anything but jubilant. Its sardonic lyrics are wrought with dark poetic imagery.

The lush and infectious piano on "The Eagle" is a persuasive display of this creature's attentive watch over those living far below its wings that dance upon languid gusts of wind.

Hitide.Lotide truly saves the best for last. "The Eastern Star" dances about with soaring flutes and graceful melodies that spring forth in this rapturous culminating track.

"The Forest" offers the listener an intimate musical experience. Never straying but a few marks from its unified sound, Hitide.Lotide's full-length debut release blends humble beauty and poignant song writing that establish "The Forest" as an album with sustained allure. - University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Post


Discography

Visit http://www.hitidelotide.com

The Forest can be heard at:

http://www.myspace.com/hitidelotide
http://www.purevolume.com/hitidelotide

The Forest can be bought via:

iTunes
Amazon
Rhapsody
CDBaby

Photos

Bio

A group of people using gifts that have been freely given in order to make art together through song, animation, artwork, storytelling, and more. “The Forest” is a 16 song concept album sung from the perspective of each animal of “The Forest”. Live shows include all members in costume bringing “The Forest” to life.

Musically “The Forest” is reminiscent of groups within the neo-folk movement; though, like every good artist, it is at times difficult to pin them into specific genres. Saxophones, flutes, toy pianos, organs, tambourines, mandolins, guitars, shakers, and drum kits, among other instruments are tastefully performed to breed a diversity uncommon in today’s monotonous musical world.

“The Forest” was written from January 2006 through July 2008, and was recorded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from June 2008 to July 2008. With the help of long time friend; Todd Scott, the album was mastered, printed and released on August 23rd to a crowd of 250 at The Miramar Theater on Milwaukee’s beautiful east side. Visually the show is just as impressive as the music, and with intricate overhead animation accompanying a choir, and all of the “costumed” creatures, hitide.lotide leaves none to suffer from want of a more epic group.