Wooden Wand
Wooden Wand
Label: Ecstatic Peace
Genre: Rock
Online: Artist Website


In addition to running the Polyamory label with Tovah O'Rourke, James Toth was the leader of New York-based avant-garde/freak-folk ensemble Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice. Taking the first part of that name as his own -- and occasionally billing himself as "Wooden Wand Jehovah" -- Toth gathered at one point or another O'Rourke (who also comprised Dead Machines with her husband, Wolf Eyes' John Olin), Satya Sai, Glucas Crane, Steven the Harvester, and Heidi Diehl. There were others, too -- the Vanishing Voice lineup shifted as much as its members' various aliases. The sounds the group made were fluid, too, incorporating everything from '60s mysticism of Donovan and Van Morrison to free jazz, noise rock, folk traditionals, and the entire Silt Breeze catalog. Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice released numerous CD-R and vinyl recordings into the indie folk/experimental underground during the early 2000s; they were also responsible for relatively more conventional releases like 2003's Xiao (Destijl, later reissued by Troubleman Unlimited), 2004's Sunset Sleeves (Weird Forest), and Buck Dharma, issued in September 2005 through 5 Rue Christine. That same year Toth released Harem of the Sundrum & the Witness Figg simply as Wooden Wand. The recording's skeletal folk structures and evocative lyrics garnered quite a bit of positive press, especially in the wake of Devendra Banhart's success.