The music of Dewey Mahood is steadfast in its pursuit of transcendence. For the past two decades as Plankton Wat, Mahood has contoured his melodic guitar playing into wholly transfiguring pieces. His fluid compositions apply ethereal, elastic textures to grounded rhythmic grooves that recall the cosmic and the earthly in equal measure. Hidden Path is an album built on reflection and discovery, turning the thrill of exploring obscured passages into inward revelations. Originally presented as a limited cassette in 2017, and now presented on vinyl for the first time, remastered by Amy Dragon, Hidden Path is a distillation of Mahood’s musical practice as a way of life, a patient celebration of the unexpected, unhurried and exhilarating.
The seeds of Hidden Path were planted when Mahood was completing his 2013 album Drifter’s Temple. Title track “Hidden Path” was composed alongside that album, but stood out from the rest as a new starting point. “I was thinking of escape, and finding calm,” says Mahood. “But after working on the new album for a while the title Hidden Path took on a new meaning for me. It became about my life, and the path that I'd chosen for myself.” Having grown up immersed in the communities of underground music, Hidden Path became a personal affirmation. “It's about knowing yourself and following your heart and passion,” adds Mahood. “It is a political album in the sense of saying it's okay to opt out of everything mainstream, you don't need a great job, or much money at all to be happy and feel satisfaction in your life. My music and art are about rejecting anything that seems normal or status quo or of the modern capitalist world. This music is about life outside of all that.”
The process for building out the album’s sound world is mirrored in the pieces themselves. Mahood instilled his relaxed pace into the pieces which flower into moments of joyful surprise and release. The feel of each piece is effortless, but maintains subtle tension that Mahood masterfully compounds with repetition until washes of elation take hold. The cadence of album opener “The Inward Reflection” dissolves into a crest of roiling wails. A forest of percussive rustles, folk-driven 12-string, meandering bass and billowing wisps of flute grows dense and murky before opening out into a welcoming meadow on “Dream Cascade.” Oozing guitar textures on “The Everflowing Stream” sift and smolder as a steady pulse carries the drift deeper into the unknown. “Hidden Path” wades through primordial synthesizers and Ash Dybvig’s trickling flute, driven by longtime collaborator Dustin Dybvig’s hip-hop inspired drums. Whether playing with an ensemble in the same room or layering his own overdubs, Mahood harnesses improvisation to revel in curiosity and connection.
Hidden Path is an expedition into the unknowable. Mahood’s lush compositions guide one from dreamy verdence to pensive ragas with the jubilence of walking a new path for the first time. The searching pieces are layered with a sense of mystery that reveals new details on each trek through their winding routes. Plankton Wat’s Hidden Path embodies the bliss in remaining inquisitive about worlds both exterior and interior to divine unearthed wonders.
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