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This album's title, Collages, serves as a statement of purpose and a summation of the aesthetic of the band up to this point. The instrumentation and sampled sounds here overlap and complement each other in vibrantly varied configurations. "Spirit Stone," for instance, seems to channel Ceremonial-era Savage Republic in its evocation of Persian chord structures and darkly swirling atmospheres. The sprawling "Mothershift," meanwhile, is a series of repeating musical themes that evolve like one of those video images repeated endlessly into the digital distance: hypnotic and compellingly mysterious. Whereas many bands engaging in instrumental rock with elements of ambient drone end up with slabs of self-indulgent noodling, Woodsman sounds focused. Rather than a compilation of sculpted cacophony, Collages is a showcase for how inspired improvisation becomes solid composition.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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