Johnny Woods has a way with synths. A noted purveyor of the modular style he has released Pavilions (38'36"), an album of live-wire improvisations and a warm, welcoming, wide-open air. Allowing the listener space to wander in wonder, and to feel every feeling, its free flowing ribbon of melody ripples and twists in seven polite, coolly glowing sequencer-scapes. His sureness resounds in layers of tones cresting and trailing in tune with the music of electricity - and exerts a tender touch over anyone entering its domain. Upon stepping into these stories we find a song cycle faithful to its own unique rules of proportion and perspective. In mechanized cycling patterns notes rise, expand and contract in roundelays of creative inspiration on the wing. Woods' prestige arrangements wind their way confidently from the charged and energized, down to swift shifts in texture, and then again into rising moments of synthetic verve. The organized electronic blips and bleeps that propel Pavilions are honed, but not overworked - rousing, yet never hurried. The spirited realizations foreground an artistic mindfulness that affirms the simple possibility of sound as sensation. Such heated circuitry should yield an intrigue. The here and now provides too few answers for Woods - a musician always seeking the next day's beauty. When we engage with this music we are encountering someone else's mind, and all the colors of its intuition and imagination. It is in the slipstream of sound and mood that minds are moved and secrets are passed between those who care.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 13 August 2020