Inventions - Maze of Woods - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Inventions - Maze of Woods

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2015-03-27

Few bands are as intrinsically linked to a genre of music like the post-rock giants Explosions int he Sky. For the better part of a decade, guitarist Mark Smith and co have functioned as a somewhat faceless collective, gracing the public with absolutely incendiary live shows as well as enjoying a tertiary pop culture connection via Friday Night Lights. Eventually, some of those shows introduced audiences to label-mate Matthew Cooper, who perfumes his singular brand of laptop-electronica via the pseudonym Eluvium.

 

Smith and Cooper eventually hit it off, and while the roots of Inventions (their eventual collaboration) were planted some ways back, one couldn't help but feel like their stunning collaborative debut came out of nowhere when it was released in 2013. Inventions was exactly what one would think it would be (a mix of ambient and instrumental post-rock), while also impressively sounding almost nothing like either musicians' day job.

 

And so here we are, barely a year later, and Inventions are about to release their follow-up album, Maze of Woods, a concise musical statement that takes the measured approach of their self-titled debut and pushes it forward while continuing to subtly carve out their own identity in an already somewhat cluttered musical landscape.

 

The opening track, 'Escapers', which pulses along with touch-dial quips surfing upon an off-kilter wave of feedback and synths, pretty much sums up the entire scope of the record. 'Peregrine' begins with a haunting vocal sample, before slowly building to an Explosions-esque crescendo, while 'A Wind From All Directions' thumps along in an almost Tom Waits-ish homage with its herky-jerky gait. The album closes strongly with 'Feeling the Sun Thru the Earth at Night', a song that expertly shifts through its melodic passages like some lost piece of classical music while never losing grasp of the subliminal beat that tethers it to the rest of the record.

 

Where the first Inventions album felt like a clashing of artistic worlds, Maze of Woods features a much more balanced symbiosis in regards to both of the contributing artists and their respective musical worlds. Not quite post-rock, not simply a collection of ambient excursions: Maze of Woods is a record that sheds any lingering thoughts of the 'side-project' tag and finds Inventions emerging as a full-time musical force in their own right.

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