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Maze of Woods is the ultimate slice of second-gen post-rock nostalgia. Combining the ethereal, crystalline guitars of Explosions In The Sky -- with as many crescendos as you like -- with Matthew Cooper's neo-classical drone, the sparkly super-group known as Inventions make evocative and reassuringly pretty music.

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Maze of Woods by Inventions
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7/10 Robin Staff review, 17 March 2015

Better without the beats. Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper and Explosions In The Sky’s Mark T. Smith have endevoured to boldly go where no second generation post-rocker has gone before, using their collaborative project Inventions as a place to work out a new type of beautified melodrama. Stomping beats, hazy distortion, field recordings and glitch pop all join the usual framework of ambient fog and Friday Night Lights-core guitar, making ‘Maze of Woods’ the least conventional -- but most overstuffed -- piece of music both artists have tried their hand at.

The opening sample offers Invention’s mantra: “I wanted to do something that I didn’t know how to do” (ironic, considering how overused the context-less vocal sample is in post-rock, but let’s not dwell). It’s obvious from the track’s stuttering collation of flatlining beats that both artists are out of their comfort zone, and while it’s a genuinely shocking introduction, the grace and beauty of this record is found in its more familiar moments -- when these artists appease their trademarks, no one can touch them. “Springworlds” goes unimpeached by beats and instead using a wordless vocal hum to ascend a noisy drone to the clouds. “Peregrine” mixes the transcendently loud ambient of ‘Copia’ with another distanced vocal and trembling glitches, eventually reverting to the beat-driven uprising of the record’s opener.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but what’s obvious is that both artists are using this as a cathartic release, an unleashing of the ideas that have been festering with them for years. Their new sounds are often beautifully employed, even if they don’t sequence well -- without the record around it, “Slow Breathing Circuit” would work marvellously, using processed acoustic strums and tinkering sound effects for a soundtrack of biological proportions -- it'd do well on a documentary about a bear cub learning to walk. It’s interesting to hear these seasoned experts of simple beauty try and complicate things; I liked the soundscapes when they were beatless, though. Less Coldplay vibes.


Inventions - Springworlds (Official Music Video) - YouTube



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