Head here to submit your own review of this album.

We've discovered something remarkable in Maze of Woods, a find broader in scope than what initially shows as the second full-length effort from longtime friends Matthew Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions In The Sky)--together known as Inventions. It's been confirmed that these sounds have always existed, out in space in another time somewhere in the future. Woven ambient mechanics, om chants and raw bursts of noise are gathered artifacts that display a symphonic exuberance. There are no trees in Maze of Woods. We're listening to the chronicle of a space expedition.

In 'Escapers,' machine-driven rhythms with brassy punches signal it's time to go. This is blue collar ambiance: motivating but honest. There'll be time for trepidation but at this moment you're hit mostly with excitement for the unknown. The shortest track of this adventure at under four minutes, the 'Escapers' don't overstay their welcome. 'Springworlds' features incoherent pleading over an earthy, kind of hazy composition. Wordless expressions of distress and love that we find throughout the journey are most prominent right here at this moment. We're boarding the ship. We're saying goodbye.

There's an adventurous build in 'Peregrine'. Alert pianos warn of something foreign but the expedition forges ahead, and soon in 'Slow Breathing Circuit' we're lulled into relaxation with a tinny bass guitar strum and overlaid chants. Pure darkness. We've landed now somewhere new, and with 'A Wind From All Directions' we're surrounded by the tallest structures we've ever seen. Machines are communicating to one another. Sunlight (is this the sun?) burns through our suits if we stay motionless for too long. The dancebeat of 'Wolfkids,' means it's playtime, but stay away from the synth time portals. Flickering guitars show images of youth gone by, and suddenly, through a deafening resonance, we hear familiar voices and brass instruments playing to a marching cadence. We're home.

Inventions' Maze of Woods is a piece of wonder. The album as a whole offers plenty of white space for reflection but not too much to the point of boredom or ambivalence. It's a compassionate celebration of all the possibilities we have in this world. Sometimes challenging, other times comforting, Inventions encourage you to step inside the imagination portal and dream.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.