Eternal Tapestry - Wild Strawberries - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Eternal Tapestry - Wild Strawberries

by Rob Taylor Rating:7 Release Date:2015-02-23

Wild Strawberries is a gargantuan space-rock symphony. Its also a kind of paean to the environment in which Eternal Tapestry found themselves during the recording process, namely the Zigzag River area beneath Mount Hood, Oregon. It’s eight tracks come in at seventy five plus minutes, so unsurprisingly the majority of tracks, each named after a species of plant native to the geographical area, are substantial improvisational pieces containing guitar, organ drone, sound effects, splintery drumming and some eerie vocals.

So, anyone caring to listen to this music will obviously be concerned about how focussed the music is across that hour and a quarter. Title track, 'Wild Strawberries' is superb, building momentum from a Doors-like dirge, to a red-blooded guitar-and-organ-led masterpiece with breakneck hypnotics. The sustained organ chord which drones mid-track, warps itself constantly as the track reaches its apogee, while a sort of wind-tunnel sound-effect lifts the track out of its static tempo. The sound effects remain counterpoised with the keyboard. Some cavernous guitar leads the track out. Excellent stuff.    

The strength of the title track ie, dynamics and structure, are perhaps the undoing of 'Enchanter’s Nightshade', a piece that fails to elevate itself and is, comparatively speaking, artistically barren. The shortest piece, 'Woodland Anemone', is a playful interlude of BBC Workshop-type electronics.

'Maidenhair Spleenwort' is pure 1970s ambience a la Brian Eno. Its sloshy electronic sounds clamber over the dirge with enough alacrity to sustain interest and enjoyment. Another great track.

'Lace Fern' lacks a nerve centre, the prog-rock keyboards and guitar too circumlocutory to grip the listener at at any point of its 10-odd minutes. 'Pale-Green Sedge’s' guitar work gathers and swarms into nice textures, awakening from its slumber with some shock detuned guitar gaining volume and unease simultaneously, before the long ambient organ drone closes out the track with sludge rather than sedge - in any event, an interesting track.  

The closer, 'White Adder’s Tongue' is dead spooky, as if its author had entered that part of his or her dream state arising from unrest. This fifteen minutes prove to be every bit as enthralling as the title track, with some deadpan, and barely audible chanting, soporific raga and industrial sound effects.

A rather daunting but fascinating album. A mixed bag to be sure, but more than half of it is absolutely captivating.


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