Merseyside based Tim Maycox (aka Wooden Tape) as well as being both a writer and musician is also a high school teacher. Previous bands include Fortunatus, who supported Teeth of the Sea and Mainliner, and Sons of Sekander. He’s also played at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and finally, he worked at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for sixteen years in a role he described in a recent interview as a ‘classical roadie’.
For Wooden Tape, Maycox has employed the services of Joe and Sean from the aforementioned bands and the project makes its live debut at Kazimier Garden in Liverpool on August 12th if you happen to be in the area. Anyway, onto the review…
The Past All Around Us begins with thrillingly experimental electronica with nods to both the output of Warp Records and acoustic folk, the latter part of which transports you back to the late ‘60s, and John Barry’s Midnight Cowboy theme. Wooden Tape‘s acknowledgement of present and past is effortless, and this won’t be the first time its utilised on the album.
Dandy Eyes is pure mellow loveliness with an oriental tinge that brings with it visions of a Buddhist retreat such is the sense of inner peace it evokes. Despite being the shortest track on the album, it nonetheless has an all-enveloping meditative quality which is impossible to ignore. Above The Djinn takes you to Merrie Olde England as the likes of John Renbourn and Richard Thompson have done for decades. It’s like being at a medieval court, with the renaissance music giving the track a charm, grace and playfulness that is both endearing and supremely listenable.
Its simplicity is part of the appeal and I for one can’t get enough of it…
The naturalistic and the pastoral make an appearance on Birds with the sounds of a birdsong featuring prominently, a reminder of a time when responsibilities were few and the days rolled on seemingly forever. Its simplicity is part of the appeal and I for one can’t get enough of it. Tiny Colossus is largely keyboard led, the main melody is certainly an earworm making it positively infectious and while there’s a post-rock influence present, its one lacking in pretension and self-indulgence. It resembles a music box which once again taps into a seemingly common theme of childhood, nostalgia and innocence.
Geodesice Eric recalls the work of Popol Vuh, especially the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath Of God resulting in a slightly darker tone. A curious yet necessary aural diversion. Broken Tapestry continues the darkness that was hinted at in the preceding track, there is a creepy ambience and a general sense of foreboding, imagine the surf rock of the Beach Boys if filtered through John Carpenter. Birds II brings back the light after the shade and is pretty much a continuation of Birds, Kraftwerk’s proto-ambient work on Ralf und Florian, as well as the BBC sound effects library archives also come to mind.
Music For A Sun Chariot 1-111 is the longest track on the album and as the title implies of a somewhat progressive nature. It’s definitely an oddity on an album that has prided itself throughout on straightforwardness and being low-key, but its Jean Michel Jarre space and synth ambitions are to be admired at the very least. Final track Chapters has a post-hippy sweetness to it, kids TV shows from yesteryear may come to mind, Bagpuss, Trumpton, Noggin the Nog… the gang’s all here.
In conclusion, there was a refreshing lack of cynicism on the record, yet it had enough stylistic diversions and wonderful weirdness along the way to prevent the whole thing from becoming altogether too cozy. Delightful.
Scribed by: Reza Mills