Portland musician Dewey Mahood is one of the most versatile and prolific musicians in the modern psychedelic underground. As Plankton Wat, he has explored the outer reaches of folk and synthesized drift since the mid-aughts, and his dedication to improvisation above all else, his restless exploratory spirit, has earned him his place as a dark horse in the continuum of contemporary sonic explorers such as Sun Araw (with whom he has collaborated), Expo ’70, Steve Gunn, Herbcraft, and Daniel Higgs.
Following his departure from heavy-psych mainstays Eternal Tapestry in late 2012, Plankton Wat has emerged as Mahood’s primary musical focus, which is instantly apparent on his latest sojourn, Drifter’s Temple. Rather than improvising live to tape and editing the pieces judiciously as he has on his previous tapes, CD-Rs, and limited LPs, these songs emerged from rehearsals and took form during live performances over the past year before being laid to tape. Mahood utilized 6 and 12 string guitars, lap steel, bass, organ, and synth to realize these richly detailed songs.
Drifter’s Temple harkens back to Mahood’s childhood in Northern California, both sonically and conceptually. A loose narrative is woven through these ten instrumental tracks, touching on the Gold Country and Mt. Shasta that populate his native countryside. The album unfolds with the grace and contour of the landscape that inspired it, with fingerpicked melodies slowly growing to gigantic peaks of lysergic bliss. His guitar style is as far reaching as ever on Drifter’s Temple, which shows him seamlessly integrating his love of the Appalacian folk music of Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb into the subtle Grateful Dead-isms, nods to 70âs cosmic music, and overt Crazy Horse moves he has explored on recent releases.
The album was recorded by Mahood at home on a four-track and features contributions from Dustin Dybvig (Horse Feathers & Edibles), Matt McDowell (Sagas) and John Rau (Royal Baths & Edibles).