Wooden Wand L’un marquer contre la moissonneuse (and The Vanishing Voice)

[Three Lobed; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: freak folk, noisy commune jam sessions
Others: Ya Ho Wha 13, No Neck Blues Band, Feathers, Six Organs of Admittance

Who are Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice? The vast ever-shifting membership of the band combined with their choices in pseudonyms (Glocouse Nonhorse Crane? Steve the Harvester? Pete [Dave] Nolan?) lead any reviewer to use his imagination in creating a context for the band's creep jams. I like to think of them as government controlled robot hippies that are versed in John Cage, Yoko Ono, and the almighty Ya Ho Wha. This particular batch of government robots must vary their jams because at least one of their sessions will be released each month by a covert government operation guising as a fly-by-night weird core record label. Some of these experimental recordings are prized by a number of oddball, down home folk, while others wind up being used as coasters for pop cans. L'un marquer contre la moissonneuse is one for the oddball trophy collections.

"White Fungus Bird's Nest and a Moon Pie" begins the disc with almost two minutes of what sounds like the band tuning up. It resonates into a barbed-wire ghost shanty, accentuated by female vocals that bob along with a childlike strut. There is hidden venom to this excursion that undermines the innocence of the floaty female vocals, and a lackadaisical mood prevails. The song eventually melts down into a fog-filled creepshow that briefly pairs the female vocals against the vocals of a reverb demon, with the soundtrack of ringing chimes and a wind gust. The innocence conquers the demon, but the murky mood prevails.

The postmodern NPR backyard folk of "Counterfeit Kingdom" just doesn't work as a valid segue into the next jam lesson in snake charming. In fact, it doesn't work at all with its generic, almost Scott Weiland-aping vocals and prepubescent Califone instrumental leanings. Nevertheless, the band trudges on with the quiet dissonance of the 25-minute calm of "Bloated Moray Eel." The song begins with a dimmed ambience and never really transcends beyond that point. It does, however, shape-shift into a trot-along medieval festival jam and then into a sedated space-rock come down.

L'un marquer contre la moissonneuse is not the best example of why WWVV is so vital to the world of experimental music, but it is a stellar set of spacey sustained death songs. Score another one for government programmed robots.

1. White Fungus Bird's Nest and a Moon Pie
2. Counterfeit Kingdom
3. Bloated Moray Eel
4. Windflower

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