Release Date: Feb 24, 2015
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Space Rock, American Underground
As rumor would have it, shortly before Portland, Oregon space trippers Eternal Tapestry retreated to a cabin in the wilderness to work on the music that would become their sprawling double album Wild Strawberries, drummer Jed Bindeman came across a stockpile of about 700 cassette bootlegs of fan-recorded Phish concerts. The band recorded over these tapes to put down the lengthy, oozing jams and wandering instrumental zone-outs of the album. While listening closely doesn't reveal any bleed through from these forgotten moments of jam band bliss, there's a grainy, relaxed feeling that runs throughout the massive album, one where just eight tracks stretch out infinitely in a web of sounds somewhere between the woodsy womb of the remote cabin and the cold, unknown reaches of space.
There is something incongruent about the notion of a “pure” form of psychedelic rock. Psychedelia was what happened when you spiked rock ‘n’ roll’s punchbowl. It was impurity of the highest order (pun very much intended). Ultimately, human nature would take charge and rules among the counterculture would be drawn up, just as factions of punk in the following generation would move from similarly chaos-oriented origins into regimented protocol for dress and conduct.
For their latest album Wild Strawberries, Portland, Oregon-based psych rockers Eternal Tapestry headed out to a remote cabin in Oregon to isolate themselves while recording, where they produced a set of tracks all named after plants native to the area. Essential ingredients of their sound remain—expanses of sound, culled from improvisations stretched out into infinity—but here they mainline nature more directly than ever before. Throw in the darkness that often cloaks their music, and the fact that some of it was recorded over a bunch of Phish cassette bootlegs, and it becomes something akin to a full-gamut hippie experience, lost somewhere between quiet introspection and howling bad dreams.
Eternal Tapestry, the highly capable, veteran psych-rock players based in Portland, Oregon, have here a low-key, wandering double album that seems to be conceptually based around the circumstances of its recording: the band spent a week in a cabin in remote Oregon, jamming without interruption or outside influence on an 8-track over old Phish cassettes. They named the songs for the wildlife around the cabin, located under Mt. Hood, near a river called — insert joke here — the Zig Zag River.
Recorded in the foothills of Mount Hood outside its Portland, Ore., home base, Eternal Tapestry's sixth release unfolds in a meditative manner. Though culled from improvisational jams, this instrumental exploration of psych's deep catacombs never feels anything less than deliberate. The title track makes a compelling centerpiece. Against a heavy, eyelid-summoning backdrop of organ drone and synth burble, guitarist Nick Bindeman unleashes a space raga that clocks in north of 15 minutes.
To acclimatise themselves for recording their latest album, Eternal Tapestry decided to treat themselves to a week away in a secluded Oregon cabin under the shadow of Mount Hood near the river Zigzag. There they were inspired to record hours of endless jams from which the tracks that make up this mammoth double album, Wild Strawberries, were chosen. The surrounding countryside gave obvious inspiration for the song titles, which are all named after plants and fruits local to the area.
The sonic explorers that make up Eternal Tapestry holed themselves up in a literal cabin in the woods to make Wild Strawberries, and the record sounds like it. Mixing burbling synthesizers and meandering guitars with a lack of rhythm and a laidback vibe, the Portland combo finds a workable nexus between cosmic and pastoral. “Lace Fern” meditatively cooks up an aural background, like the synthesized soundtracks to low-budget 80s sci-fi and fantasy films.