|Dungen & Woods — Myths 003 (March 16, 2018)|
Dungen & Woods — Myths 003 (March 16, 2018) |||• Jarvis says of the experience: “My favorite memories of the experience aren’t even from recording, but I think they really set up my state of mind for the whole trip. One was that first morning in the house where everyone — Woods, Dungen, Mexican Summer folks and their families – was staying, just drinking coffee and staring out the window across the desert, slightly blinded by the sun but still able to make out the silhouettes of kids playing outside. The other was watching porn in the local movie theater with what felt like the entire town. Two totally disparate moments, but they both gave me a really strong sense of community.”Location: Stockholm, Sweden ~ Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Styles: Neo~Psychedelia, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
Album release: March 16, 2018
Record Label: Mexican Summer
01. Loop 2:56
02. Turn Around 4:04
03. Marfa Sunset 3:09
04. Morning Myth 4:42
05. Jag Ville Va Kvar 5:53
06. Saint George 6:20
07. Just for the Taste 3:50
Members: Gustav Ejstes, Reine Fiske, Johan Holmegard, Mattias Gustavsson © Aug 16 PG FEAT Woods, Jeremy Earl, Photo credit: Matt Condon, FEAT
•||| With 2018’s Marfa Myths festival slated to take place in the idyllic namesake backdrop of far West Texas, Mexican Summer once more reveals the fruits of the previous festival’s recording residency. For the third Marfa Myths release, we’re proud to present seven all~new songs written and recorded by Stockholm’s psychedelic masters Dungen and adventurous Brooklyn indie~folk pioneers Woods.
|||• As the Marfa Myths record series progresses, the spirit of the collaborations between the artists chosen — one a member of the Mexican Summer family, the other for which we share deep admiration — deepens as well. In the case of Dungen and Woods, the two bands were tourmates in the summer of 2009, traversing America and bonding with one another in the process. The familiarity with one another’s music and personalities was already well in place, but the eight years that passed between the tour and the making of this record reveal that nothing was lost in the interim.
•||| That this is the most music assembled for a Marfa Myths release to date is telling of a rare and special connection between Dungen and Woods, reignited by the circumstances of the occasion. Dungen’s Gustav Ejstes and Reine Fiske, and Woods’ Jeremy Earl and Jarvis Taveniere were provided the freedom to acclimate themselves to the unique frequencies of the Marfa experience without distraction. Marfa Myths 003 showcases a seamless merging of two bands following the same track to different locations throughout their career, as if they’d been playing together for decades, an exhilarating and buoyant example of how shared experiences can foster truly wonderful music. Review
by Grayson Haver Currin, MARCH 16 2018 / Score: 7.6
|||• The third and best installment of Mexican Summer’s collaborative EP series pairs two soft~focus psychedelic bands to righteous effect.
|||• The charm of Marfa does not take long to take hold. On a recent weekday afternoon, I drove to the West Texas town, leaving the rugged peaks of the state’s pie~slice panhandle behind on long strips of flat blacktop that cut across the scrubby Chihuahuan Desert like tightropes. Maybe it was the blessed mix of sunshine and breeze or the pregnant stillness that seemed to lurk in the streets of the community of about 2,000 people, but everything felt suddenly at ease and open. During the last several decades, Marfa has become famous as an unexpected artist’s outpost, where city folks (sometimes controversially) move to make a permanent vacation of their vocation. And so, the outlandish happens — massive minimalist sculptures stand amid the chaparral, edgy art galleries thrive in abandoned adobe buildings, and an evocative Prada store simulacrum stands 30 miles outside of town. Wandering the streets, having a drink, or even buying groceries, I got the inexplicable sense that everything was possible, that here people had space and time to ponder something different.
•||| That sense of sacred possibility presides over Myths 003, a little seven~song wonder conceived and cut by members of Sweden’s Dungen and Brooklyn’s Woods in 2017. It is the third and best edition of Mexican Summer’s annual Myths series, each of which has been recorded together by two acts during a weeklong residency ahead of the label’s Marfa Myths festival each spring. The event is a bit like a post~South by Southwest exhalation, a smartly conceived escape from the grab~bag madness of Austin; like its host, this festival seems more concerned with creativity than commerce.
•||| Tourmates a decade ago and friends ever since, Dungen and Woods are both soft~focus psychedelic bands who love sharp hooks but have very distinct impulses. Woods tuck their idiosyncrasy into the crevices of their pastoral pop~rock songs, hiding their intricacies like Easter eggs. Dungen is more obviously aggressive and extroverted, splitting harmony~heavy tunes with drum solos, fantastical flute vamps, or one of Reine Fiske’s lysergic guitar solos. Those differences become shared assets here — it’s the rare collaboration where each band actually adds what it does best to the other’s song. Dungen supplies frisson to the typical drift of Woods during “Turn Around,” from the spiraling guitar lead that starts it to the piano that pounds at the horizon. Surrounded by harder edges and higher dynamics, Jeremy Earl’s slight falsetto sounds that much sweeter; it is one of the most magnetic Woods songs in years. And on the muted, Dungen~led “Jag Ville Va Kvar,” Woods insert filaments of noise and distortion, providing depth and ballast to a song that might have otherwise floated in the clouds. Woods
|||• Speaking of the sky, five of these seven tracks are instrumental (or, at least, wordless, sometimes deploying distorted vocals as an astral texture), suggesting stony jams simply cut to fit on an LP. But they share more direction and narrative tension than that. “Marfa Sunset” and “Morning Myth,” for instance, are a complementary serenade and aubade, fitting one another as opposite sides of a shared cycle. During “Sunset,” rays of guitar noise and glints of keyboard melodies bounce from the sides of a loping groove, fading into the distance after a busy day. But “Morning” is jittery and caffeinated, its rubbery rhythm and stunted West African guitar line practically bounding between a duet for Gustav Ejstes’ flute and Earl’s refracted vocal samples. Both tunes are concise and controlled, in accord with their functionality as music for ending or beginning the day. Even “Saint George,” the album’s six~minute epic, is well~scripted, as the bands steadily work a funk beat into an intense krautrock lather. They never lose you in the expected haze, never sacrifice the momentum of the rhythm and riff for overindulgence, even as sheets of distortion wash over it all like a flash flood. This is a righteous instrumental anthem.
|||• For a decade, the much~missed series “In the Fishtank” pulled two bands into the studio for a few days and challenged them to make something new, to take a risk by breaking from their customs. There were, almost by design, some misses, but several of those records still feel like unexpected gifts from known quantities, as when Low met the Dirty Three or Tortoise sparred with the Ex. Three albums into the series, Myths is close to reaching those heights. On Myths 003, both Dungen and Woods seem to have found a new spark. These songs are both more urgent and exploratory than the last albums by either band, though they were both very good. There’s a real sense of shared wonder here. Maybe it was the mild heat of the high Texas desert or the spell of the mystical Marfa lights. More likely, it was four sympathetic musicians being given the space and time to do whatever they want, in a town that seems to demand only that.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra: Score: ****
Aaron Leitko: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/20949-allas-sak/
Joe Tangari: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/14604-skit-i-allt/
|Dungen & Woods — Myths 003 (March 16, 2018)|