Black Dirt Oak

Wawayanda Patent

Mie Music MIE 024
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Featuring Steve Gunn (GHQ, Desert Heat, Violators), Nathan Bowles (Pelt, Black Twig Pickers), Jimy SeiTang (Rhyton, Stygian Stride, Psychic Ills), Justin Tripp(Georgia, Steve Gunn), Margot Bianca (Flown, Key Demo), Dave Shuford (Rhyton, D. Charles Speer, NNCK), and Wednesday Knudsen (Pigeons, Sea Donkeys), Black Dirt Oak's Wawayanda Patent is a song sung from a splintered Ouija board, a mass Shaker gift-drawing, a truly exquisite corpse. All these musicians have been fixtures at this rural studio west of New York City for years, but never so integrated as in this bizarre working. With songs that seem both plant and animal, this music splices many logics into a trembling unity. Without a doubt, an alkaloid-laden root is cellared down in Jason Meagher's Black Dirt Studio. To drop the needle onto this record is to slice across its concentric spheres. The fumes instigate fever dreams: Arco banjo strings and horns spiral like vines and gently strangle steeples erected by drum machines, leaving a skyline of electrified maypoles twinkling in the dark. Hands clasp and graft synthetic and old-world strains into an agrarian wish. The plant leafs out, flowers, fruits, and then sinks silvery seeds back into the rot. Someone plucks a song out in processional cadence only to fall backwards into a seance, channeling creation myths aloft in winds of disembodied voices. The harmonics float down and shroud the earth in breathable fabrics, tenderly draped over dead electronics like stainless skeletons half-buried in dirt, grinning to expose a circuitry of gold fillings amidst the teeth. To describe this music is to clog a drain with hair. You can see what repeated listenings do. I've flooded my bath.

To be sure, each musician has left her telltale fingerprints all over this record; however, the patterns are spun around an entirely different magnetic north, or maybe an underworld passage where the pole should be: Bowles blankets SeiTang's synthesized landforms in wet forests of frailed banjo, wooded hollows haunted by Bianca's porcelain song. Their impossible horizon melts with a setting inner sun that turns out to be Knudsen's sax. Meagher spins the whole like a glass witch ball, the distended interior described by Tripp's geomantic figures, the crystalline surface etched by Shuford's acid. Gunn delicately suspends the microcosm by a golden thread... and then they all trade places without us even noticing. Familiar sounds are put to unfamiliar tasks. While the music was germinated in the protected warmth of this cellar, pressing up against those walls are ten-thousand hectacres of soaked earth, the drained and fertile remainder of ancient swamplands known as the Wawayanda Patent: soil fat with sulfuric allums, tubers, and now this occult growth, uprooted from below Orange County's sun-soaked surface. Ingest with care. - Rob Smith (Pigeons, Rhyton)

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