Eternal Tapestry

Beyond the 4th Door

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AllMusic Review by

Much of what takes place on Beyond the 4th Door, Eternal Tapestry's Thrill Jockey debut, is unhurried, sonic meandering with a single pointed focus: to alter the listener's consciousness. Over nearly 44 minutes and five selections, this is an album, in the best sense of the word. Eternal Tapestry have never attempted to disguise their primary influences, most of them from the Krautrock and Euro-psych scenes of the early 1970s. Strains of Popol Vuh's trance music, Ash Ra Tempel's long-form guitar jams, the shimmering keyboards of Cluster and Neu!, and traces of cosmic Swede explorers Trad, Gräs och Stenar, all come together in this mesmerizing brew. These songs evolve slowly, ranging in length from just under five minutes to over 12. Opener "Ancient Echoes" commences with the interplay of two guitars playing a fingerpicked minor-key figure before a bass enters sparingly from the edge. A drum kit underscores it with a deliberately restrained, accented rhythm that introduces drifting, wordless vocals and a gently droning keyboard. Guitars move with and through each other with heavy reverb, echoplex, and wah-wahs percolating. The tempo never changes, but the dark, brooding nature of the tune becomes more pronounced, until it becomes a gently swirling force inside the listener's head. "Galactic Derelict," with its distorted droning bassline, soaring guitars that careen off one another, floor-tom heavy drums, and washed-out keyboard atmospherics accentuate them processionally. The intensity level heightens gradually but never lets up, until it simply collapses under its own weight. The slippery closer, "Time Winds Through a Glass, Clearly," contains all the previous building blocks, as well as a saxophone, to create a 12-and-a-half-minute architecture of sonic head wreckery. Beyond the 4th Door is Eternal Tapestry at their most focused; and while nothing here is actually "new," and they are deliberately restrained in compositional form, they succeed in expanding their cosmic musical terrain. This album should be heard as such in a single sitting, where its labyrinthine beauty can be fully experienced and integrated. This is "acid rock" at its best.

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