For a year, in 2015, Matthew Sage (aka M. Sage) cataloged near-daily recordings made with a very narrow creative constraint; electric guitar and a few pedals, all recorded and mixed directly to cassette 4-track. Eschewing the often complex studio gadgetry and computer editing that he relies on for his primary project, Free Dust became a respite that offered room for technique to fall away and for pure expression to surface. He collected and released more than two-and-a-half hours of this material throughout the year as quarterly digital downloads; this body of work was then re-released as a double-CD in 2019 on his now-defunct label Patient Sounds.
Now, Past Inside the Present presents a new collection of Free Dust material, the first proper LP for this project. Woo’d Early is a succinct diurnal counter to the sprawling dusk-settling realms of Archive; these fluttering dawn-oriented guitar works, using the same constraints that originally defined the project, were recorded in the very early mornings of late Summer and early Fall 2019. Instead of cerebral evening ruminations, these are billowing guitar atmospheres as casual morning ponderings. Where Archive was a diaristic account of acclimating to a new life in a new city, Woo’d Early is mornings having adapted. Reveling in the constraints presented by restricted gear, Sage explores melody and texture with an inquisitive, sensitive, and casual curiosity. Not without their hiccups, complications, and delightful quirks, these mostly-docile reflections are a mottled silver sliver of the complicated peace that mornings and maturation present every day; the tender and gray midwestern sky, chalky and pale before the rustling of the day has shaken off the evening’s inky dust.