Explosions In The Sky’s Mark T. Smith and Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper are responsible for some of the most emotive instrumental and ambient music of the past decade, so their joining forces as Inventions is as close to a “supergroup” as that deliberately faceless genre gets. With last year’s self-titled debut, Inventions staked out a sound that combined Smith’s yearning guitar tones and Cooper’s minimalist synth washes into something low-key yet undeniably lovely. That ambition to entrance continues on the group’s Maze Of Woods, out March 17 on Temporary Residence in the U.S. and Bella Union in the UK.
In this exclusive premiere of the album’s first track, “Escapers,” Inventions hints at a move even deeper into dark ambient waters, beginning with a stuttering drum machine beat over simple synth-pad chords. It’s overlaid with an echoing dialogue sample that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Orb track, before Smith’s chiming guitar finally flickers into view.
“Escapers” suggests a slightly more electronic direction for Inventions that’s also hinted at by the album’s list of remixers—including The Field, fellow ambient “supergroup” A Winged Victory For The Sullen, and Leyland Kirby (aka The Caretaker)—whose reworked versions are included in a free EP with Maze’s digital release.