At the end of last summer’s Marfa Myths festival in Texas, the two bands in residence retreated to a studio for a collaborative week, as is the custom of the annual event organised by the Mexican Summer label. Myths 003 presents the often inspired results of the ensuing international psych summit between Sweden’s Dungen and NYC’s Woods.
The default sounds of the two bands are pretty disparate. However, there are enough shared interests - steadfast focus on a robust groove, roots in vintage folk- and psych-orientated mind-expansion, tendency to change direction abruptly, leading to a capacity for effortless versatility - to make the seven tracks on this 30 minute EP cohere into a seamless whole where it's quite hard to say where the genre barrier-busting jazz/prog/psych-rock of Dungen ends and the hazy, sunburnt folk-funk of Woods begins.
That said, Dungen's loose-limbed templates do tend to dominate. That's probably inevitable; the Swedish band are currently gliding on a sustained creative high after 2016's beautiful Allas Sak and last year's spooky soundtrack masterpiece Häxan, and their toolkit happens to feature elements as inimitable and instantly recognisable for aficionados as bandleader Gustav Ejstes's flute (remnant of an early interest in traditional Swedish dance music) and guitarist Reine Fiske's truly staggering skills in cosmically atmospheric shredding.
Yet Myths 003 is far from a one-band show. Both the sung tracks - the Woods-led "Turn Around" and Ejstes-helmed, uncommonly synth-heavy "Jag Ville Va Kvar" - hints of Ejstes's Swedish supergroup Amason, maybe - manage to blend the two bands' styles into a unified and compelling whole. Some of the instrumental jams bring to mind an image of musicians noodling along on the bare bones of an idea whilst waiting for inspiration to strike, reminding you that the bands were working on this material under very challenging deadlines. But as well as some (comparatively speaking; nothing here is entirely unrewarding) misses, the instrumental cuts also provide the EP's highpoint in the form of the soaring, Can-inspired propulsive hypnotics of "Loop".