Eternal Tapestry - Beyond The 4th Door

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2011-03-14

Eternal Tapestry make epic, blissed-out psychedilia. This is their debut for the reliably wonderful Thrill Jockey label (who've also released records by the psychedelically inclined White Hills). Beyond The 4th Door takes you on one-hell-of-a-trip, for just under 45 minutes you'll feel like Alice in Wonderland. If Wonderland was inhabited by stoners, record fanatics, Grateful Dead t-shirts and Neu! records instead of mad hatters and grinning cats. There's no catchy single, pop hook or NME cover-star frontman here, this is simply uninterrupted psych-rock brilliance.

The trip begins with the steadily growing 'Ancient Echoes', with its slow, hypnotic bassline and shimmering guitar taking us on our first tentative steps beyond the fourth door and into Eternal Tapestry's hazy world. This is the kind of music that won't be rushed; the track's just over eight minutes on record yet you can imagine them playing this for an entire set and no one minding. The sound of desert winds heralds the next track, the fantastic 'Cosmic Manhunt'. There's a brilliantly raw wah-wah guitar part built around steadily paced drums and desert blues atmospherics; it's a track of cosmic proportions. Imagine a more improv/experimental Dead Meadow, minus the vocals and you'll get the picture.

'Galactic Derelict' raises the bar even further with its cascading, psychedelic noise, insanely brilliant drums and darkly atmospheric synth parts. Founding members Nick Bindeman and Dewey Mahood are veterans of the contemporary psychedelic-rock scene and their experience shows on the masterfully impressive performances on this record. Nick plays guitar for Jackie-O Motherfucker as well, whose folky psychedilia is well worth a look if you enjoy this.

'Reflections in a Mirage' slows things down again and evokes the cover image of the sun-drenched desert perfectly. It's also the first track to feature something approaching a prominent vocal part. It's hardly time to sing along, however; Eternal Tapestry use vocals as another instrument, melding the soft, almost ritualistic tones with the rest of the sound. The track also features Ryan Carlile's tenor sax, subtly added to the band's hazy, tense atmospherics. It's an impressive piece of music.

'Time Winds Through a Glass, Clearly' begins as a surprisingly ambient piece; Eternal Tapestry have taken us on a journey and this is the piece which welcomes you at your destination. The thin, almost Velvets-esque guitar parts intertwine as a strung-out Eastern tinged atmosphere slowly leads us through just over 12 hypnotically serene minutes. Carlile's tenor sax is used to stunning effect again as the track builds to a euphorically glorious climax.

The phrase psychedelic is banded around a lot these days but Eternal Tapestry really have made a fantastically psychedelic record. Beyond the 4th Door is the real deal, a psychedelic trip for modern times that's as experimental as it is transparently beautiful.

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