Release Date: Mar 16, 2018
Record label: Mexican Summer
The charm of Marfa does not take long to take hold. On a recent weekday afternoon, I drove to the West Texas town, leaving the rugged peaks of the state's pie-slice panhandle behind on long strips of flat blacktop that cut across the scrubby Chihuahuan Desert like tightropes. Maybe it was the blessed mix of sunshine and breeze or the pregnant stillness that seemed to lurk in the streets of the community of about 2,000 people, but everything felt suddenly at ease and open.
Every year the Marfa Myths festival, a celebration of music, movies, and the arts held in the desert landscape of West Texas, gives two performers the chance to collaborate in a setting removed from the distractions of a usual studio, giving the artists a chance to commune with nature and each other. In 2017, the festival offered that chance to Woods and Dungen. The Swedish psychedelic dreamers sent multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Gustav Ejstes and guitarist Reine Fiske, while the Cali folk weirdoes sent vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Earl and bassist Jarvis Taveniere.
The default sounds of the two bands are pretty disparate. However, there are enough shared interests - steadfast focus on a robust groove, roots in vintage folk- and psych-orientated mind-expansion, tendency to change direction abruptly, leading to a capacity for effortless versatility - to make the seven tracks on this 30 minute EP cohere into a seamless whole where it's quite hard to say where the genre barrier-busting jazz/prog/psych-rock of Dungen ends and the hazy, sunburnt folk-funk of Woods begins. That said, Dungen's loose-limbed templates do tend to dominate.