Woo – Into The Heart Of Love, 1990

UK collective Woo delivers a masterpiece of microcosmic proportions with their under-heard landmark Into The Heart of Love. Although they use readily identifiable instruments, the music is truly hermetic, coming from nowhere and made with feeling instead of genre or artistic points of reference.  The work flows together with the soft beauty of a field at night with stars so bright you can see the path ahead.

It’s predominantly an instrumental record, peppered with a few lyrics that beckon closer listening. “Make Me Tea,” for example, will make anyone feel the warm and fuzzies.
The group has remarkable finesse with synthesizer and effects. Although almost every track uses synth, rather than letting it take center stage it acts as a kind of textural enabler, often disappearing into the background or morphing into a soft bed supporting the intimate sounds of the other instruments. There are even moments where the synth acts as a hammer dulcimer.

Woo makes new age (secularly spiritual) music which one can’t help but hold with care and reverence, but they maintain an element of fun, curiosity, and experimentation that is missing in a lot of new age. This is exemplified most obviously in a burst of laughter at the end “When You Find Your Love,” reminding the listener to not take life or music so seriously, that people are just playing, just as Woo is playing song after perfect song. If I ever have kids, this will be on heavy growing-up rotation. Essential.

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