Woodsman: Mystery Tape
As a reviewer, there is nothing I dislike reviewing more than instrumental albums. It is not because I do not enjoy instrumental albums, it is just that it is so damned hard to describe them. So you can imagine my excitement when I got called to duty to review Woodsman‘s latest release, Mystery Tape, a half-hour five song instrumental EP.
Woodsman is a post-psychedelic quartet from Denver, CO. As I already said, their sound is hard to describe but I will try anyway. Woodsman is all about textures. They do their best to create lush soundscapes for the listener to become entrenched and lost in. They accomplish this in a couple different ways. The band is a four piece, but it is not a traditional four piece. The band consists of two totemic percussionists and two sonic animators. I know what you are thinking, what the hell is a sonic animator? Woodsman’s sonic animators employ a combination of electric guitars, feedback loops, and recorded samples. For guitars, Woodsman’s sonic animators play snaky riffs similar to The Doors. As if that is not enough, the band puts reverb and echo effects on their guitars until it sounds like something from a U2 album or like Brian Eno is producing the record. This gives Mystery Tape its signature sound, but the thing that stood out most to me was the sonic animators use of recorded samples.
The recorded samples that are employed on Mystery Tape are weird. During the opening track “Beached”, one would swear they hear singing but that is just the recorded loops. The loops are usually of voices but the voices are distorted, echoed, and reverbed to the point where the words are no longer comprehensible. Instead the vocal loops sound like ghosts, echos of the past just barely breaking through. The sound is haunting.
Combine the haunting loops with the already lush soundscape and you have something that is undeniably captivating but for unclear reasons. After my first listen to Mystery Tape, I was pretty sure I did not like it. But when I relistened to it for this review, I found myself more and more drawn to it. It is not the kind of record you blast in the car with the windows rolled down, but after a long night I could see putting this on in the crib and chilling to it.
MP3: Woodsman “Beached”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!
Woodsman: Mystery Tape