Sunday, August 9, 2009

Plankton Wat - Dawn of the Golden Eternity [DNT]

First of all, I must note how beautiful this record looks. Dewey Mahood (Plankton Wat) contributed great artwork from the sleeve to the labels and DNT main man Tynan Krakoff put it all together beautifully with lovely ruby red marbled vinyl. Damn, I just couldn't believe my eyes when I opened it up.
Last I heard from Plankton Wat was last year's tape on DNT. It was a great psych slow burner but Mahood has tweaked his sound just a bit for this LP and topped himself in the process. The first of ten, "The Magic Citadel," caught me off guard as it's a total fist pumper. Glistening waves of guitar set in with raucous tambourine hits before Mahood just starts burning up the fretboard. It's probably only about a minute and a half but it gets your heart racing. The title track cools things down a bit with airy, looped layers of guitar and free drumming. The drums really control the dynamics of the track cause when they're mellow cymbal rolls it's a pretty piece but when they get hectic so does the whole track. "Song of Winter Death" features more great, and completely different, drumming. Hollow, thudding toms make a semi-hypnotic base for acoustic slide guitar and flute to do their thing. "Shrouded Path of Enchantment" reminds me a bit of that DNT tape with stark and brooding acoustic guitar arpeggios. There's a second guitar that provides subtle plucks of the root note occasionally and it creates a strange sensation, the sonic equivalent of an undertow. A single, skeletal melody is doubled by banjo and voice on "Occult Blues." It's short but pretty profoundly eerie. "The Exiled Wanderer" is an awesome rhythmically driven track. Each instrument is used to percussive ends but Mahood deftly weaves flickers of melody from mbira and other instruments within the tangled web of rhythms.
The second side kicks off with "Sphere within the Lotus" and I'm not sure if it's possible to give a song a more "psychedelic" name. It fits cause it's a squall of a song drenched in glorious, or copious, amounts of fuzz and wah, depending on your viewpoint. Mahood is even rocking wind chimes harder than they've ever been rocked before. Sadly, the piece is pretty short. "While the Clouds Gather" is a mellow number, and there's not too much to say other than it's supremely, if unassumingly, gorgeous. It sneaks up on you. "Other Realms" is the default epic of the side, marking the return of Mahood's wordless vocals paired this time with guitar. The track drifts for a while until a slamming groove comes out of nowhere making everything get real good real quick. "Voyage of the Night Pavilion" finds acoustic and electric guitars making a great team, the former handling the melody and the latter producing a fuzzy fog and chiming in on the melody when it feels like it. Its a perfect outro cause of the gently lilting vibe, though it heats up near the end with a melting guitar lead.
Dawn of the Golden Eternity is another great installment of Mahood's 4-track psych excursions. I like that he kept most tracks pretty short so he could cover a lot of ground, but I wish he'd given the openers of both sides a bit more time to jam it out. If you dig Mahood's stuff this definitely worth the pickup and if you don't know it, this is a fine place to start.
Still available.

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