Review: Black Dirt Oak – Wawayanda Patent

Wawayanda Patent sounds to me like an isolated record. Not just during those moments where grubby fingernails send banjo strings into twang, painting an image of a sloping shack of a recording studio lodged uncomfortably among fields of corn, somewhere upon a rippling scorched horizon; more for the way in which the tracks sound so deliriously engrossed in themselves, as if each idea is the band’s only form of bodily sustenance. They bury their heads into the music – eating it, smothering it over skin – to form a psychedelia of introversion, pushing rhythms and tonal combinations to their natural end and then further, dragging each motif from one end of Black Dirt Oak’s musical spectrum all the way to the other. The record’s atmospheric essence (which initially seems to be pastoral heat exhaustion, and then velvet curtain psych rock, and then a waltz in woodland tunics) is stretched so thinly as to dissolve, and the core theme that replaces it is one of behaviour; an endless cycle of positive confirmation and creative encouragement, losing sight of both start point and destination in the sheer enjoyment of trudging ever further outward.

It’s a record of churned earth: banjos and drums turning melodies like dirt writhing through the teeth of a plough, while effects (mainly delicate reverbs and shivering choruses) lay bare the trail of chipped guitar pedals that lead back to their source instruments, all of which seem to resonate with a whispered history. Yet while much of Wawayanda Patent seems to hold in stable frames of major key, it’s a husk for the mutated state within. Take finale “Crowning The Bard”, whose murmuring guitars would be blissful were it not for the rhythms sliding against eachother and the squeal of violin that brings to mind the stutter of dry and unoiled machinery, or a solitary shard of amber sunset slicing through a barn roof, tugging the piece into a place of mesmeric faraway logic.