THERE'S SOMETHING endearingly nerdy about the members of Eternal Tapestry. Guitarists Dewey Mahood and Nick Bindeman, and drummer Jed Bindeman are hunched over a small table at a dark pub in Northeast Portland. Mahood and Nick, the elder Bindeman, are appropriately shaggy; Jed's face and head are bowling-ball smooth. I half expect the conversation to veer recklessly toward Hellboy and fiendwurms; instead they get into an extended discussion about a Swedish psychedelic band from the early '70s I've never heard of, and an art film from Taiwan (which I've also never heard of).
The lads in Eternal Tapestry exist in their own world—one that seems to rest beneath the perpetual haze of smoke and black lights. It's definitely not of this earth. The band's latest five-song LP (that's a five-song long player), Beyond the 4th Door, ditches structure for free-form psychedelia. "If people see us once every two years it's going to be radically different," explains Mahood.
That's not an exaggeration. The band's foray into more conventional songwriting didn't last long, and with the exception of one song—the short and sweet five-minute ditty "Cosmic Manhunt"—the new record is completely improvised. "We've become better at listening to each other," says Nick. "It was a real joy to come back to the improvisation after a year of being structured—I like when we come in and don't talk."
You won't hear much talking on Beyond the 4th Door. Songs average just under 10 minutes apiece, with the record ending on the massive "Time Winds Through a Glass, Clearly," a meandering 12-minute trip steered by warbly guitars and slicing horns.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the members (who include bassist Krag Likins and Ryan Carlile on sax and synths) do time in a number of like-minded projects, including drone duo Cloaks and unpredictable experimentalists Jackie-O Motherfucker. But the focus now is clearly on Eternal Tapestry, who began putting their live voyages to tape after being snatched up by Thrill Jockey last year. The band records all of their practices, and recorded Beyond the 4th Door themselves in their longtime practice space. "It's a big, messy basement—but it's where things get done," Nick explains.