The recording of 'wood'

The recording of 'wood'

by Mike Hyttinen for Caught in the Web

The wood-making process began for Moxy Früvous at the beginning of 1995. After some time off the road, the four band members reconvened to strum their guitars at each other, to sift through song ideas, to select the tunes that would be recorded and to begin working on musical arrangements and pre-production demos.

By the beginning of March, the vital elements had been prepared and the band repaired to Dreamland Studios in Woodstock, N.Y. to set about woodworking in earnest.

Chief among their Woodstock collaborators was co-producer and engineer Michael Koppelman, one-time in-house producer and engineer at Prince's Paisley Park Studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

"He co-produced the last album by frente," Foster says, "which was a record we really enjoyed. That's what turned us in his direction."

Recorded in 17 days and mixed in 12 more, wood was a deliberately quick production. As co-producers, the band members felt they wanted a live and vibrant musical feel.

"We didn't want wood to be a piece-by-piece process - more of a natural growth. And it was. Michael's a very first-take guy, and that was the feel we wanted and there's a lot of guts in the album in terms of keeping takes and some happy accidents of performance," Matheson says.

Guest musicians on the album include Austin, Texas fiddler Danny Levin, along with Lorin Schlomberg and David Krakower of the Klezmatics on clarinet and voice. Together the three add a little musical color to the already spirited and melodic Moxy Fruvous sound.

Encompassing everything from wailing country melodies to sauntering cafe society tunes, the music of wood is- like the substance it's named after - sheltering, communicative and entertaining.

It's a warm sound, too - the happy noise of four close friends making heartfelt music that reflects both where they've been and where they're headed.

"We made a huge transition when we went from being street musicians to being a recording act, so that sort of process has always been happening for us," Foster says.

"If we're consistently challenged by our identity, then hopefully the world will be as well."

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