Saturday, July 18, 2009
Plankton Wat - Dawn of the Golden Eternity (DNT Records LP)
Here's a bomb. After what felt like an ample hiatus--just starting to mourn the loss in the form of frequent checks to the website--DNT has returned not with a fully loaded batch but with one ultra focused and fondly constructed LP from Dewey Mahood's Plankton Wat project. Probably better known as a member of Eternal Tapestry, Mahood's solo ventures have actually already been captured on the DNT imprint via a cassette from a ways back.
While that one was an ultra-serene pleasure cruise though, this one pushes against the shores a bit more. Opening with the flanging guitar of the "The Magic Citadel," a kind of paired down Burnt Hills psych number with real focus and drive, the piece is a call to arms for the rest of the album, which presents nine semi-miniatures in which one idea is essentially worked out and through and over. The title track, whose clattering free drums and guitar drift splay themselves out like the arched arms of illuminated cacti, segues beautifully into the Delta sproing and pan flute pitterings of "Song of Winter Death," whose Fahey allusions extend far beyond mere use of finger-picking. He somehow conjures the underlying weirdness as well, the uncertainties. "Shrouded Path of Enchantment Occult Blues" is a solo guitar venture that allows Mahood's spare caution to flower into a raga Renaissance blues style whose patient sense of time and restraint display a maturity far beyond the usual in this field, evolving incrementally as each successive leaf drifts to the floor. Closing out the side, "The Exiled Wanderer" finds parallel vocal and banjo lines sliding effortlessly into a sacred netherworld of Tibetan Appalachia, closing the side out with an emptiness immediately filled upon the flip.
"Sphere Within the Lotus," like the opener of the album, harkens in the side with gusto never again reached on the side. Splashes of guitars and frolicking drums mix with bells, vocals and Harper Mahood's flute for a brief cleansing of the palette before "While the Clouds Gather" takes delayed guitar into meditative drone worlds ripe with atmospherics and tender thematic painting via harp-like gracings over the strings. Resonating hairs strum by fingers as it meanders into warm winded vocal glides over the tundra on "Other Realms," building a humble cathedral of its resonant rainfall guitar before teetering inward for a bask in the light projected on the floor. Closing it out is "Voyage of the Night Pavilion," a drone and guitar piece firmly pointing toward the eternal beginning. A beautiful one from DNT and company, and a real accomplishment for Mahood. Killer package all around, glad to have DNT back.