|Plankton Wat — Drifter's Temple (2013)|
Plankton Wat — Drifter's Temple
→ "Spirits reflects the undeniable chakra-centering power of Portland multi-instrumentalist Dewey Mahood... The 10 tracks here radiate a holy, pastoral beauty." — The Stranger
Location: Portland, Oregon
Album release: September 17, 2013
Record Label: Thrill Jockey
Style: Experimental, Lounge, Space Rock
01. Toward The Golden City (3:56)
02. Changing Winds (4:52)
03. Klamath At Dusk (5:59)
04. Nightfall (4:10)
05. Empire Mines (4:33)
06. Hash Smuggler's Blues (4:47)
07. Dance Of Lumeria (3:34)
08. Western Lament (5:53)
09. Bread Of Dreams (5:55)
10. Siskiyou Caverns (4:20)
→ CD version comes in a 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold package. LP version includes artworked inner sleeve and free download coupon.
| "Portland musician Dewey Mahood is one of the most versatile and prolific musicians in the modern psychedelic underground. As Plankton Wat, he has explored the outer reaches of folk and synthesized drift since the mid-aughts, and his dedication to improvisation above all else, his restless exploratory spirit, has earned him his place as a dark horse in the continuum of contemporary sonic explorers such as Sun Araw (with whom he has collaborated), Expo 70, Steve Gunn, Herbcraft, and Daniel Higgs.
| Following his departure from heavy-psych mainstays Eternal Tapestry in late 2012, Plankton Wat has emerged as Mahood s primary musical focus, which is instantly apparent on his latest sojourn, Drifter s Temple. Rather than improvising live to tape and editing the pieces judiciously as he has on his previous tapes, CD-Rs, and limited LPs, these songs emerged from rehearsals and took form during live performances over the past year before being laid to tape. Mahood utilized 6 and 12 string guitars, lap steel, bass, organ, and synth to realize these richly detailed songs.
| Drifter's Temple harkens back to Mahood's childhood in Northern California, both sonically and conceptually. A loose narrative is woven through these ten instrumental tracks, touching on the Gold Country and Mt. Shasta that populate his native countryside. The album unfolds with the grace and contour of the landscape that inspired it, with fingerpicked melodies slowly growing to gigantic peaks of lysergic bliss. | His guitar style is as far reaching as ever on Drifter s Temple, which shows him seamlessly integrating his love of the Appalacian folk music of Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb into the subtle Grateful Dead-isms, nods to 70's cosmic music, and overt Crazy Horse moves he has explored on recent releases.
| The album was recorded by Mahood at home on a four-track and features contributions from Dustin Dybvig (Horse Feathers & Edibles), Matt McDowell (Sagas) and John Rau (Royal Baths & Edibles). Plankton Wat will be touring Europe extensively in the fall, including a performance at the Incubate Festival in the Netherlands, as well as the US."
| Pour amateurs de (bonne) musique psychédélique instrumentale...
| US Booking:
| European Booking: © Debacle Fest with Brain Fruit, Plankton Wat and Monopoly Child Star Searchers | Photo credit by Kiva Ramundo
PLANKTON WAT — INTERVIEW
→ Posted on 25 June 2012 by Bowlegs
→ Plankton Wat, aka Dewey Mahood (who is also a member of Eternal Tapestry), started life as a home recording project way back in 2001, fragments of his music slowly being released on cassette labels like Digitalis and Sloow. Now signed to Thrill Jockey Mahood has just released his label debut, the experimental and exceptional Spirits. This is a record created as a meditation on the Pacific Northwest Environment, creating sounds and audio emotion to the landscapes Dewey knows so well. Incorporating a host of instruments, including his acoustic guitar, hand drums, harmonium and layered voices, the album is a hypnotic and wholly effective journey that you can lose yourself in for hours. We spoke to Dewey about the creation of Spirits and the inspiration behind it.
Bowlegs: I understand this record is a meditation on the Pacific Northwest environment. Why that particular area, does it have a special significance to you?
Dewey: When I started recording this album I wanted a general concept that would hold the music together. I was coming up on living in Portland for 20 years, so I decided to make the album something of a meditation on the region. There is something very special about the area, all the rain brings such lush scenery and dramatic skies. It can be a very powerful place in a spiritual sense. That’s also where the title of the album comes from. So many times I’ve been camping on Mt. Hood, or at the Oregon coast, and just get this sense of history. Almost feeling the Native Americans and early White settlers before me. With all the diffuse sun light peering through dark clouds and old growth trees a person can feel real insignificant, but also connected to a greater life force outside of oneself.
Bowlegs: Was each song written across areas within the Pacific Northwest? How do you transfer a landscape into musical form. Are these, in some way, emotional responses to the incredible landscape?
Dewey: Well, the entire record was written at my house, but I spent a year thinking about it. I try to take a lot of short trips around the area – not only the mountains and coast, but smaller towns too. When I’m driving or wandering around places I’m always thinking about music. A lot of times I’ll be somewhere and get an idea I want to try once I get home, or hear something that triggers a new idea. For me music is life, everything relates to sound. Maybe I’ll be walking around an old part of a small town and I’ll just hear the twang of a string in my head, then I go home and try to create the sound I imagined. It’s all about feelings, memories of people and places. Sometimes sadness, but more often dreams of the future. I try not to get too wrapped up in negative thinking, nothing good can come out of that. I like to keep the vibe positive as much as possible, but I also have to be honest with myself.
Bowlegs: Do these songs start life on different instruments? How do you start, is about a groove or a certain riff?
Dewey: Every song starts in a different way and I do that on purpose. I don’t like repeating myself, that’s way I do so much improvisational music! I have a bunch of instruments that I’ve collected over the years, and I like to pick something up and play something that matches my mood. It could be anything, a rambling drum, a wall of synth noise, a bow dragged across a banjo string. Anything that connects to how I’m feeling at the moment. Once I’m happy with a sound I’ll put a mic on it and roll tape. → Then I listen back and think about what would sound nice going along with the original sound. Sometimes I’ll put a piece together in half an hour, others may take a week. It just depends on how sounds sit together and if a piece communicates something to me.
Bowlegs: How are the perimeters set for a newly composed track — decisions on how many bars until a guitar enters the piece, how long until we fade out etc etc? Are you always considering the listener or is this you losing yourself in the music?
Dewey: When I’m playing I don’t really think about this sort of thing too much. It’s more like Dadaist collage, or Beat literature. It’s about expressing something no matter how vague or obscure, just working it out. I guess the only perimeter is that I like to have a good handful of songs on an album, and shy away from releasing just a few long jams – I’ve got Eternal Tapestry for that! Again it all goes back to what feels right, most of the time just losing myself and trusting my ears. A song like Stream Of Light is a good example of that. First I laid down a bed of synth textures, then overdubbed a second more melodic keyboard, then played some guitar on top. It’s all real simple, but hopefully it communicates something much greater. Something beyond me that everyone can feel. On another piece Portland & Western Cross I definitely tried to compose a solid song that the listener could grab a hold of, but that’s somewhat uncharacteristic for me.
Bowlegs: I feel the album works because of the variation in the landscape – from the percussive and sparse Orange Cloud to the folk-esque Portland & Western Cross. Do you think the track order is more important on instrumental and more experimental records like this?
Dewey: Well, I have to be honest. I spent months on the track order! There were a few other songs that I recorded in this batch, and it was a tough decision on which ones to cut in order to keep the record to around 40 minutes. With music of this nature I think the sequence is hugely important. With no lyrics to guide the listener, it’s all about the musical progression, the audio journey. The album starts gentle, but hints at what’s to come. Then it takes hold with the second song, and hopefully the listener is along for the ride. The opening song is also a warning, if yer not down with it this album isn’t for you! I like to cover a lot of ground with instrumentation, and moods, so it’s real important to have an even flow. Otherwise, it can come across as being schizophrenic and incohesive.
Bowlegs: Why is the drone track called Cape Meares — what is that place like?
Dewey: Cape Meares is a magical little spot on the Oregon coast. The front cover photo of Spirits is taken there. The crazy rocky beach is to the north, and a great state park to the south with a weird little lighthouse, forested hiking trails, and an amazing ancient Sitka spruce tree shaped like an octopus. Local legend tells of a Native American canoe getting stuck in the tree forcing the limbs out in such a bizarre way. → How could a person not be inspired by such a place! Plus, it’s almost always shrouded in a deep fog making it even more mysterious and supernatural feeling. With that song I was trying to express the feeling of being there, on the edge of the west coast looking out into the nothingness where the ocean meets the clouds.
| By Sam Shepherd | 6 September 2013 | Score: ****
| Review: Debacle Fest with Brain Fruit, Plankton Wat and Monopoly Child Star Searchers | Posted by Kiva Ramundo on May 10th, 2013 at 9:30 AM |
| Previous album: Spirits
| By Paul Thompson; May 29, 2012 | Score: 7.3
|Plankton Wat — Drifter's Temple (2013)|
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