Artist: Made Of Wood
Title / Release Page: Narcotherapy Hypnosis
Release Date: 2015 Jan 20
Genre: Funk / Chill
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Media: MP3 / OGG / FLAC / Opus / AAC / ALAC
I started listening to Made of Wood a couple of years ago, with his Made Of Wood: Chill Funk Trip release.and became an immediate fan. So I was ecstatic to see that Made Of Wood: Narcotherapy Hypnosis, the follow up release, was issued by Magnatune earlier this year. But can it hold up to my expectations? Well, keep reading to find out.
Made Of Wood: Narcotherapy Hypnosis
First, I am going to say something: I am glad that I did not go back to The Chill Funk Trip and listen to it before giving Narcotherapy Hypnosis a chance to work it’s magic on me. Had I gone back to the previous release, I might have set some expectations for this release that would have been unfair. So, let that be a warning to you, dear listener, if you are familiar with earlier Made Of Wood releases, don’t come into Narcotherapy Hypnosis with the same expectations.
Now, let’s take a little biographical look at Made of Wood. Dan Waldman is the man behind these releases. He is an accomplished musician who has been studying piano since he was five years old, and has performed in Boston, Albuquerque and the Baltimore/Washington area. He created Made of Wood in 2010 as an outlet to explore the wide range of chillout and funk grooves that he has been listening to over the years. Some of the influences include Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, Lalo Schifrin, Parliament Funkadelic, and Radio Head.
Given the wide range of influences, and his long term experience in music it is no surprise that any two releases from Made Of Wood will sound completely different, and have a different vibe to them. However, this isn’t a bad thing in this case. Dan has taken an approach with Narcotherapy Hypnosis that builds on the previous releases, without repeating them in a way that feels like a formula.
Some of the standout tracks on this release include Old School Spy, which is an homage to James Bond ’60’s era theme music. The Lab, an orchestral funk piece. Escape From Stasi Prison, which first sounds like the opening of the old Popcorn tune, but quickly takes on a more cinematic feel with the addition of reed like instruments, and then turns somewhat in a 60’s mod funk tune with the edition of electronic harpsichord.
But, the most standout and interesting tracks to me are the excerpts from Vivaldi’s L’Estro Armonico. The first which sounds like an homage to the Walter Carlos Switched On Bach era works, while the second takes completely different turn, sounding like an arrangement made for The Modern Jazz Quartet. It’s a wonderful bit of contrast between these two arrangements that still has me enthralled to hear them side-by-side.
And I am only scratching the surface of this release. Each track is like watching a kid open his presents on Christmas morning. There is a new expectation, a new level of excitement to be found in each track. For example, I noticed in a couple of tracks, a bit of guitar twang that sounds like 60’s surf music, which I didn’t expect and made me smile just a little bit more than I was already.
So, if you couldn’t have guess already, I really enjoyed Made Of Wood: Narcotherapy Hypnosis. It’s not the same as the previous releases from Made of Wood, but that is to be expected. It would be boring if this release sounded the same as the previous release. I was happy to hear an homage to James Bond, and a bit of Walter (Wendy) Carlos, and even The MJQ. Made Of Wood may have set a new expectation for me: wanting each release to be like opening a big pile of presents. That might be a dangerous precedent to set, however I think Dan Waldman is up to the challenge.