BAND OF THE WEEK: WOODSMAN

23 Mar

Which planet did Woodsman descend from, fully-formed and possessed of such halcyon harmony? Though we’ve been told repeatedly that the answer is Earth, we’re not prepared to believe such an easy solution, certainly not after hearing their recently released third album.

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Conversely, if Woodsman sounded any more natural and organic on said album, we would declare the album to be nothing less than the perfect and unexpected merging of fuzz pedals and photosynthesis. Emerging from such well-cultivated sonic ground, the album feels strongly rooted below the surface, resulting in a beautiful blossoming, an uncategorizable unfolding.

The question of Woodsman being of terrestrial or extraterrestrial origin is unlikely to be answered any time soon. Certainly the album’s song titles – “In the End, Remember When?,” “Healthy Life,” “Rune” – offer no firm evidence either way, and the band’s focus on instrumental invocations leaves us no lyrical content to interpret. And while the band claims to be Denver-born and Brooklyn-based, is there even a second of this album’s note-perfect thirty-seven and one-half minutes that sounds anything at all like the work of a band that made the conscious choice to move away from Colorado?

After repeated listenings, we were at one point content to declare this Woodsman album to be the result of telluric current, plugged in to the electrical charge running through the earth and seas, yet flowing in a general direction toward the Sun, toward a more stellar sphere.

And this still may very well be the case. Upon further reflection – or more accurately, upon further repeat listenings of the album’s ultimate track, the blazingly brilliant “Teleseparation” – we’re finding it unnecessary to determine the origin of Woodsman, whether galactic or grounded. It’s both and it’s neither, and it’s completely undeniable. What holds “Teleseparation” securely is the sort of container (maybe not exactly Can, maybe not exactly a “Box of Rain,” but holding much) that can hold anything, with room for everything. It’s a microcosm of Woodsman’s sound, writ large: the use of space, both one-hundred thousand light years away and right in front of your hands. Use two ears and listen forever.

Woodsman’s self-titled third album is available from Firetalk Records. It’s brilliant. 

“When the Light of the Endless was drawn in the form of a straight line in the Void… it was not drawn and extended immediately downwards, indeed it extended slowly — that is to say, at first the Line of Light began to extend and at the very start of its extension in the secret of the Line it was drawn and shaped into a wheel, perfectly circular all around.”

– Philip Berg, “The Kabbalah: A Study of the Ten Luminous Emanations from Rabbi Isaac Luria with the Commentaries Sufficient for the Beginner, Vol. II”

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