ILM's 2005 collaborative mix project hoonja-doonja!

March 07, 2005

Woob, "Gate"

A few months ago, the Em:t label made a phoenix-like resurrection, unexpectedly resurfacing after more than six years of dormancy. Mid-90's ambient freaks -- in between frantic searches on eBay for the label's out-of-print back catalogue -- breathed a sigh of relief and cracked a smile. "I suppose this means there's an outside chance that Paul Frankland will release something new under the Woob moniker", I thought. "But even if he did, I doubt it would sound too different from the Journeyman album he recorded a few years ago. That was a decent record, but I'm a little burned out on the whole tribal drums + field recordings thing".

I frowned. "That was the problem with Em:t" I thought, resting my chin in my hands and bowing my head. "When they were on, they were ON, meshing dark ambient and drones and field recordings and dub into epic, glacially-shifting soundscapes that made you shake your ass one minute and scared the shit out of you the next. When they weren't on, it was still good, but how many sequels to 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts' does one person need?".

Gathering my thoughts, I sat up in my chair and folded my arms. "And even moreso, that's Woob in a nutshell", I sighed to myself. "But at least I'll always have that debut Woob album".

Well, let's revise that and include the first track on the second Woob album in his canon of perfection. After that track, he jumped the shark and it was tribal drum overload from then on in (with a few gorgeous ambient flashes). The first album moved through half-hour long dub pieces, fluffy bunny ambient, screaming, about a million other things, and finally left off in some sort of dungeon with nothing but a speaker-rattling grumble for company. The second album picked up from there, with "Gate", with a low rumble that brews and thickens and builds and the tension is finally broken by the sudden appearance of drums (darkness gives way to light, etc.) ... and cuts off.

That's where the track ends. Up until that point, Frankland had done a masterful job at giving absolutely no hints as to where the song was headed. That's the secret. Of course, I already gave away this secret earlier in this post. Oh, what could have been. So now it's up to those who post after me to devise a better conclusion.

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