Friday Full-Length: Wovenhand, The Threshingfloor

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

There’s a kind of freedom in writing when I know a given post is going to get a minimal response. A kind of safety that lets me imagine I’m speaking to myself rather than addressing an audience. Some “me” versus some “you,” both little more than vague ideas perpetuated by digital distance. Nobody cares when I write about Wovenhand. They’re one of those bands. I have a list of them. So yeah. Maybe I’ll talk to myself for a little bit to close out the week instead of doing the normal thing.

I still remember where I was when I first wrote about The Threshingfloor. Wovenhand’s sixth album, it was released in 2010 through Sounds Familyre and Glitterhouse Records — the latter covering Europe — and I was in a public library in or near Ludlow, Vermont. The Patient Mrs. and I had rented a cabin up that way on someone’s property for a month as a kind of escape-from-Jersey getaway. We had to open the glass door to let in the internet from the main house on the property. One night she made a mac and cheese that was too spicy to eat. We drank Switchback ale on tap at the bar down the road, and I wrote more in that time than I think I’d ever written anytime before or have written anytime since. We slept, we woke, we wrote. She worked on her Ph.D. dissertation, I wrote the stories that would become my Master’s thesis, and later, that book I put out a few years ago. By any measure, it was a beautiful stretch of a beautiful, unemployed summer.

The Threshingfloor was new. As it happened I traveled south a few times over the month to go to band practice — the band would break up later that year mostly because I’m an asshole; so it goes — and I bought the CD at the now-defunct Other Music in Manhattan. Did I see there’s a new documentary about the store? I think so. It was a cool spot. I don’t remember but according to that old post I’d looked in a few other stores with no success, but Other Music came through. Fair enough.

The album is brilliant. There’s little in the David Eugene Edwards-led outfit’s catalog to take the place in my heart held by their 2002 self-titled debut (discussed here), with Edwards fresh out of 16 Horsepower and bleeding that band’s traditional folk into an experimentalism that helped spread both the actual gospel and that of neo-folk in and beyond the aughts. The Threshingfloor is a landmark for how it engaged with an expanded definition of sonic and atmospheric weight, how the strings and ringing melody of “Singing Grass” became heavy despite a still-gentle impact, and how Edwards’ richly creative arrangements gave nuance to the material ahead of the mid-’90s acoustic rocker “Denver City” at the finish.

These are impulses Edwards has continued to explore. The Native Americanwovenhand the threshingfloor language that shows up in “The Threshingfloor” itself can also be heard in Edwards’ recent collaborative single with Carpenter Brut, “Fab Tool” (posted here), and Wovenhand’s three LPs since The Threshingfloor — 2012’s The Laughing Stalk (review here), 2014’s Refractory Obdurate (review here) and 2016’s Star Treatment (review here) — have pushed further toward aural heft. The band resides in a few places between. They’re too folk for heavy heads, too heavy for the jam circuit, too Christian for the non-Christians, too weird to be pop or Christian rock, and so on. In terms of genre, they’ve kind of made it up as they’ve gone along. Fine.

Sunshine was coming through the windows of the library that I’m sure have grown taller in my mind in the decade since, and the table and chairs I sat on were made of a dark wood. I don’t actually remember that — they could’ve been particle board for all I know — but it’s my story, so let’s go with cherry or something like that. The floor had a municipal rug that smelled of recently-vacuumed dust and, though not new, was neither completely worn, though the paths to the bookshelves could be seen like prints waiting to be chased. I had headphones on — my old Bose noise-cancelers that broke a few years after this — and the portable CD player that came with them. I carried CDs around with me in an old typewriter case garnered from the closet at The Aquarian when I worked there. I’d packed it full because there was a lot of music I couldn’t live without for that month, and I had a moral objection to the restrictive nature of iPods, iTunes, etc. There was a righteousness to consider.

On headphones, The Threshingfloor remains sweeping and extreme in its own peculiar way. To someone taking it on for the first time, its arrangements can seem obtuse, because they are, but ultimately I’m of the mindset that it matters less what’s making the sound so much as what’s the sound being made. At least some of it, as I recall from the one time I interviewed Edwards — I can’t remember if it was for this record or 2008’s Ten Stones — was found folk instruments in different countries picked up on tour. That accounts for some of the flute sounds, various guitar-ish things here and there in the material, with Edwards’ voice and unique vocal cadence serving as the unifying factor, let alone the songwriting.

I guess this record’s been on my mind, and definitely some escapism behind that. Thinking about writing about it that warm day — the nights were cool in that cabin — and all that writing, it would be hard not to be nostalgic for it. It’s been a rough few weeks. I cut off my hair and beard to see what I looked like underneath and I’ve found myself looking older, fatter and more miserable, all of which I am. My disappointment with myself seems to leak through my pores like sweat. I exude it like my dead father used to. I am tired and I see no point to anything. I lose patience. When my son whines, I whine back at him. I just try to scratch through my day minute by minute so that I can go back to bed at the end of it. I just want the day to end.

Self-loathing is a comfortable traveling companion. It’s been with me as long as I’ve had the capacity to carry it. How familiar. Always there. How reliable.

What is the point of anything anymore? It’s laughably melodramatic, but I have been struggling to answer this question. What is the point of doing this? What is it that’s keeping me going with this project? This. Right here. What am I doing this for? All the fretting, all the time, all the bullshit, all the vague transactional garbage. My position on keeping this site going is that I won’t make any decisions until after live music returns — not a minor consideration even as regards The Threshingfloor, since Wovenhand’s performance at Roadburn 2011 was one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever seen — but what if it doesn’t come back? Without that, why do I need this in my life? What if I didn’t have it? After nearly 12 years, am I really so afraid to find out what might be next? Am I really so weak and cloying a person? Does my ego, my narcissism really need to be glutted by my own delusions of relevance? What the fuck am I doing and what the fuck have I done?

12 years later, what have I said?

Great and safe weekend. Drink water.

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Wovenhand, Woven Hand

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I love this album. There are certain bands where I can be relatively assured that, when I write about them, there will be just about no response whatsoever. How to get a college paper for sale and save your valuable time and money. Those who want to find affordable prices for college papers can breathe a sigh of relief. We are here to help you understand how to get assignments for cheap. When youre trying to find find more online, you save time, as you can analyze what other customers have said about the writing service. NB: Not Wovenhand is one of them. I don’t know if people just aren’t into it or if it’s not a fit stylistically or what, but I already know going into this post that I’m basically doing it for myself. Fine. Still worth it. Like I said, I love this album. As I love very few others.

Led by then- Are you thinking, build online resume online! If your hands are full and you cant get to your homework and class assignments 16 Horsepower frontman Rapid Essays Business Plan Contents Page writing service is super discreet, and every transaction is automatically assigned a high confidentiality status. Only you will know where your finished custom thesis came from. David Eugene Edwards, Colorado’s Creative writing is a steadily growing sector within the academic domain. Some scholars need click to read more with these types of papers, so Eduzaurus Wovenhand released this self-titled debut in 2002. It was a departure from the alternative roots Americana that formed the foundation of Tutors available 24/7 to Thesis Statement Helper 16 Horsepower, into a vibrant and varied take on folk, heavy in presence and melody and diverse in arrangement and mood in a way that would become a signature of The Smart Writers is one of the most renowned online blog here in UK. Besides being cheap in price, we maintain 100% confidentiality and a Wovenhand‘s approach as http://www.nato-leipzig.de/?homework-for-3rd-graders, help to write essay, essay paper writing services | Complete set of services for students of all levels including Edwards took on the central role of auteur and began to explore influences and instrumentation from around the world. In that regard, the 10-track/40-minute nursing paper writing service Umi check here civil rights movement paper cover letter in apa 6th edition Woven Hand is relatively straightforward, with most of its songs working from a base of acoustic guitar or piano, but even in the backing drones, the plucked notes (mandolin, maybe? bouzouki?) and the percussion of “Wooden Brother,” The steps in http://www.istsuper.com/?dissertation-essay-in-philosophy-symmetry versus hiring a custom writing company are similar so it is easy to see that the most secure choice is to go custom. When a student chooses to utilize the services of a custom writing company, they are then going to get more personalized attention to their project because specific writers are now involved. Once the customer decides to use a custom writing company, they Wovenhand‘s fascination with elements outside the standard guitar, bass and drums was well on display — though of course this was the case in Help With Personal Statement For Teachings A Company You Can Trust Legal Custom Writing Services That Are Trustworthy. Write My Paper is an essay writing, research paper, term paper, dissertation and thesis writing company with student-friendly prices. Our writers are Ph.D. holders from the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, and other native English-speaking countries. 16 Horsepower as well.

The difference is one of aesthetic and craft. In the brooding “My Russia” or the lonely-banjo cover of Looking for an expert best essay writing services? Get your essay on any subject done amazingly fast with our top-quality academic writing services - maxhomework.com Bill Withers‘ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Conclusions The experts at http://archives.oise.fr/?xyz-math-homework service emphasise on effectively concluding your content to make a lasting impact on your readers. This way you can grasp the attention of your readers till the very end, as well as you, give an opportunity to educate them with your research study. Bibliography References and bibliography mention all of your sources at one Wovenhand taps into a dark, full-sounding reach that finds contrast not only in the shimmer in the guitar of “Arrowhead” or the hoedown-gone-boogie “Glass Eye,” but also in the relative minimalism of closer “Last Fist” — turn the volume way up to hear the counting cymbal crashes in the otherwise muted-sounding parts — and the echoing vocal showcase “Story and Pictures,” with its soft standout piano line and deceptive depth of acoustic guitar, keyboard and drum. Get History Masters Thesis from top dissertation writing service at affordable rates. Team of expert UK dissertation writers providing online dissertation help. Edwards‘ Christian faith is a prevalent lyrical factor from opener “The Good Hand” onward, framing perspective and phrasing alike — for example, the first line of “Blue Pail Fever”: “Thy will be done here on this highway” — but there’s still plenty of room for earthly concerns as well, as in the corresponding lyric in “Wooden Brother”: “We hit the floor just like a blue silk slip.”

This balance too forms an essential part of what makes Writing Research Papers With Money it is easier than you think! Our best writers provide top-quality help to everyone who decides to order theses. Leave all Wovenhand‘s http://www.maisonpechenature.com/2020/12/03/buy-essay-already-written/ by Words Doctorate is rated 4.6/5 based on 159 customer reviews. Words Doctorate Clients gets 99.9% Success and 100% satisfaction In Thesis Writing Service, The PhD Thesis prepare based on Authentic Research, Data Analysis Interpretation with ideal conclusion. Woven Hand such a rich album, but I will gladly argue for the insistent push of “My Russia,” the tension in its masterpiece later-album-answerback “Your Russia,” and the sheer moodiness of “Ain’t No Sunshine” as heavy works prescient of the full-band Wovenhand would become, and that fluidity, toying with different musical traditions and ideas, heft among wovenhand woven handthem, is part of what ties the material together, though one shouldn’t discount Edwards‘ voice in that either. He is the central figure across the entire span of the record, with his compressed voice in the verses of “Glass Eye” — on stage he uses two mics — and self-harmonizing on the joyous “Arrowhead.” That track begins with a sample of a grandmotherly-sounding woman talking about going to grade school for an immediate tap into nostalgia, so Edwards isn’t necessarily the only presence throughout the entire album, but for plenty of it he remains the focal point, whether it’s the gospel resounding of “Story and Pictures” or the interwoven layering in “My Russia” earlier on. Working with Daniel McMahon and Stephen Taylor on the recording, he’s nonetheless more than up to the task of carrying the songs.

And the songs are the focus. Whatever Wovenhand conjures in terms of arrangements and melodies, it is consistently in service to the song in question. The sustained backing melody that fills out beneath “The Good Hand,” the brush snare of “Glass Eye,” the far-back echoing bells resonant in “Story and Pictures,” and the empty spaces without them, all work to making the material more dynamic, open and, ultimately, effective in conveying thought and emotion as well as a broad instrumental sensibility. In kind with this, Woven Hand — or, you know, Wovenhand, depending whom you ask and on what day — functions with two primary salvos: one at the beginning of the album and one toward the end.

Starting out with “The Good Hand” and the turn into “My Russia” helps set the course of breadth in and beyond Americana, an entire musical world at the project’s disposal, and after the meditative “Story and Pictures,” to have the bright strum of “Arrowhead” and its so-alive uptempo kick isn’t just a surge forward later in the tracklisting, but also a lead-in for “Your Russia,” which serves as the apex of the album, driving from a tense buildup of verses into a push of vocals that seems to be the moment of release to which the entire record has been leading. It’s not the end — I’d count the quiet aftermath in “Last Fist” as a worthy epilogue — but neither is its placement accidental both in speaking to “My Russia” before and in providing a landmark for the band that, 16 years later, is still capable of running a chill down the spine.

Wovenhand‘s discography of course would continue to build. Several of Woven Hand‘s cuts were reworked on 2003’s Blush Music, and as 16 Horsepower entered hiatus, Edwards diverted his full attention to his new outfit, digging into an increasing range of composition on 2004’s Consider the Birds and 2006’s Mosaic before beginning to build a complete band around himself with 2008’s Ten Stones, and getting outwardly heavier while remaining sonically adventurous on 2010’s The Threshingfloor (discussed here), 2012’s The Laughing Stalk (review here), and 2014’s Refractory Obdurate (review here). The band’s latest outing, 2016’s Star Treatment (review here), pushed their farthest yet into weighted tones and styles, and as it seems that barring a surprise announcement for a November release 2018 will pass without a new album from them — you’ll note the even-years pace of releases — one can’t help but wonder if some turn in their approach isn’t in the works for their next offering. Though they’ve toured a lot as well, so the timing could just as easily be affected by that.

I don’t know if Woven Hand will hit home for you as it does for me. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. If you’ve never heard it and give it a shot, or if it’s already familiar and you’re coming home to it, as always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

It’s just after four in the morning. Alarm went off at 2:30AM, as it has been for I don’t know how long at this point. Last night I sat on the couch with The Patient Mrs. around 8PM — The Pecan put to bed at 6:30 upstairs — and was falling asleep reading a Star Trek novel while she answered email and worked on whatnot. I went up to bed and called it a night, maybe 8:15PM. Big Thursday. At least it’s dark now when I go to bed. It kind of felt silly over the summer to hit the sack when it’s still daylight out.

A bumpy start to the week, but we got there by the end of it. Before I went to Norway for the Høstsabbat fest last weekend, my prescription ran out, so I was off my depression meds for a few days. Thursday through Monday, and by Monday, I was curled up in the shower wishing my life would end. That sucks. I’ve been on meds at different periods in my life, and I always thought of them as a crutch kind of help you get through it. Not a longterm thing. It’s been 10 months now that I’ve been taking them, and I still can’t really go without for any length of time. What a shitter. My wife and my baby both deserve better.

Norway was incredible though, my subsequent inner collapse aside (there wasn’t really time for such things at the fest itself). Seeing Elephant Tree again, and Asteroid, and SÂVER, who, yeah, I know it’s the dude who runs the fest’s band, but were really one of the highlights of the weekend for me. I was into Tombstones as well going back before Høstsabbat was a thing, so if you think I’m blowing smoke because of the good work being done with the festival, I’m not. Pelagic Records would seem to agree, what with having signed them and all.

Anyway, we had a couple nice days this week in Massachusetts while Hurricane Michael was devastating Florida and the greater Southeast, so I got to spend some time outside with The Pecan before the big winter lockdown comes. I don’t know when the clocks change — nor do I know how that’s still a thing — but we’re losing light each day and soon enough it’ll be dark at like 3PM and cold and rainy all the time for what probably 30 years ago would’ve been December snowfall but now that doesn’t really start until January.

He went down a slide on his own for the first time, and he claps hands now. These little things become a big deal. He’s a pain in the ass, but fun too. I feel ways about stuff.

I should do the notes. Ostensibly next week is the Quarterly Review, but between the fest last week and I’m still fucked up in terms of timing from being robbed in May, I’m not sure it’s going to work out. Tomorrow I’ll know for sure. I’m thinking I could skip it and do a plus-sized one to close out the year in December, though that inevitably comes up against list season as well. Maybe earlier in the month? I don’t know. I’m thinking of these things as I type them. That would allow me to get back on track, rather than be half a month late on the QR as I seem to have been throughout 2018. Will debate, and pending that I’ll actually hold off on notes. Be surprised.

I’m waiting on a date for when it will air and waiting to record my voice tracks for it, but I’ve turned in a second playlist for “The Obelisk Show” on Gimme Radio. Hopefully sometime next week I’ll find out when it’ll air and I’ll let you know. They’ve also launched an archive so you can sign up and hear past shows. It’s five bucks a month or something, which sounds like a lot until I think of the bullshit I blow five bucks on like every single day. Bags of ice and chewing gum. Protein bars. I’d count coffee in there, but that’s more of a life-support issue than bullshit expenditure.

So I kind of talked about it on the social medias while I was at the fest, but I’m going to do merch again. This site’s coming up on a special occasion, and in addition to my own way of celebrating, I thought setting something up tshirt-wise would be a good way to go. Yeah, I said I’d never do it again, and I’m not doing it the same way, but we can talk about that when the announcement goes out.

Alright. 4:30 now. I’m gonna go prepare the ground for when the baby gets up, hopefully not for another hour at least. Or maybe just crash on the couch for a bit.

Hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading and have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

At a Glance: Wovenhand, The Laughing Stalk

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

I didn’t hear immediately about Wovenhand‘s The Laughing Stalk upon its digital release on Sept. 11, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time with it since, the David Eugene Edwards-led Colorado progressive/neo-folk outfit continuing to seek the very kind of aural fullness that Edwards‘ prior outfit, 16 Horsepower, seemed so bent on eschewing. The Laughing Stalk (released by Sounds Familyre in the US and Glitterhouse in Europe in a limited-to-2,000 LP/CD run due in November) follows 2010’s The Threshingfloor (semi-review here), a powerful fifth album that set the tone for many of the explorations contained in these nine tracks, which run a stylistic gamut from the grandiose pop of “In the Temple” (which sounds like what U2 might be if they weren’t a vacuous minstrelsy of false importance) to the late-arriving distortion of “As Wool,” punkish in its snare insistence and as joyous as it is heavy.

Tying the material together is Edwards‘ unmatched depth of arrangement, unabashed Christian faith and inimitable vocal swagger. It is the latter that carries the landscape of opener “Long Horn,” though perhaps more than they’ve ever been, Wovenhand are a full band on The Laughing Stalk, and whatever presence Edwards brings to these tracks (he brings plenty) is enriched by the performances of guitarist Sir Charles French, bassist Gregory Garcia, drummer Ordy Garrison (who features often) and organist Jeffery Linsenmeier. Songs here are expansive, beginning with “Long Horn” and continuing through the viciously rhythmic closer “Glistening Black,” but there’s space in them as well, and as ever, Edwards gracefully straddles genre as only one genuinely unconcerned with it can.

In its stylistic sprawl, The Laughing Stalk basks in an expanded definition Americana, bringing in Native American rhythms and adapting them to a track like “King o King,” both one of the record’s heaviest and most memorable cuts, with verse proclamations no less resonant than the release of its chorus. Put in the Christian context, it’s a problematic mesh, but so is American history. Wherever individual pieces go, be it the shorter, avant incantations of “Closer” or the ethereal piano wonderment of “Maize,” which follows and begins with the single word “fox,” what remains firm is a focus on rhythm, on percussion, and an unmistakably heavy vibe. The music itself is often weighted, sonically I mean, and emotional heft is nothing new for Edwards with this band over the course of their now decade-long tenure, but as dark as Wovenhand have been at times in the past, the elements have never been quite put together in this combination.

Likewise, I’m not sure they’ve ever sounded quite so rapturous. While Garrison beats out a percussive line as to make Danny Carey of Tool circa “Reflection” blush, Edwards bides his time vocally for the power and fury to come later into the song, topping heady, far-back distorted guitars with a profession of faith that asks, “Who is like as you are?” in that elevated preacher’s son language that has always given Wovenhand a spiritual sensibility to go with their ultra-upfront religiosity, taking the words and not just repeating, but using them to speak.

About that: I’ve long been of the opinion that if you disparage a work of art on the basis of faith, whether it’s a statue of Buddha carved into the side of a mountain or a Trouble record, you’re a fool. There’s been no shortage truly heinous shit done in the name of Christianity throughout the last 1,800 years or so, but on the other hand, the Pietà (we can debate the balance of one side or the other ad nauseam, and people do, as if it could get them anywhere). If you can’t take Edwards turning dogma into gorgeous hymns as he does here, you’re the one losing out. “As Wool” and “Glistening Black” cap The Laughing Stalk with crushing, humbling grace, each enacting an album’s worth of build and exaltation on its own, and offering the collection’s most bombastic moments, never uncontrolled no matter how much they might seem to be on the verge of collapse.

Those who’ve never heard Wovenhand before who come from the heavier end of the spectrum will probably have more in The Laughing Stalk to cling to than they may have on earlier outings like 2004’s Consider the Birds or 2002’s self-titled debut, but everything on this album is no less Wovenhand now than that material was then. They’ve worked ceaselessly to push forward what that means, and however much pressure they may apply at any given moment in these songs, The Laughing Stalk shows no signs of breaking, and Wovenhand retain the mountainous sense of wonder that has typified their work since the start.

Wovenhand’s website

Sounds Familyre

Glitterhouse Records

Tags: , , , ,

Friday Long-Player: Wovenhand, The Laughing Stalk

Posted in audiObelisk on September 29th, 2012 by JJ Koczan


It seems like a really long time ago, but I just heard that Colorado eclecticists Wovenhand have a new album on Wednesday night. Apparently they released The Laughing Stalk digitally on Sept. 11, and will follow that with a limited vinyl/CD run of 2,000 — I want one — through Sounds Familyre in November. This band is fucking amazing. Seriously. I know sometimes I can come off like I’m easily impressed — hardly a day goes by that I’m not drawn to something about this or that band; far from being a bad thing, I consider this a primary reason life is worth living, so fuck off should you feel otherwise — but man, when I listen to Wovenhand, it just makes me want to write. Every time.

The Laughing Stalk, which sets joyous bombast against the band’s as-always incredible arrangements, is a rare kind of heavy, and already for the three or four times I’ve been through it, I’m looking forward to getting to know it better. I still think about how unreal it was to see them at Roadburn 2011. I’d never been brave enough to go to one of their shows, and it was so visceral. Moving the way being shoved in the chest is moving.

Obviously, it’s making a pretty fitting accompaniment to tonight’s last glass of wine.

I’m in Connecticut for the weekend. The Patient Mrs. and I mark 15 years together today (our eighth wedding anniversary was Tuesday, I celebrated in Brooklyn), and though we were initially going to go to Montreal for the weekend, and then Philly — which I always love — we decided this would save money. And so it has. Fifteen years, man. You know how old I was 15 years ago? I was 15. Just a beardless boy.

I’ll say this: It’s a fucking miracle I’ve managed to hold onto this woman. No shit. My life is a collection of regrettable decisions. Top to bottom, I have utterly failed at existing as a human being in everything but this. And I can’t even take credit for it. She’s great and brilliant and I’m lucky, and until her much-heralded patience runs out and she kicks my incompetent manchild ass to the curb, my plan is to continue to worship the ground she walks on, and rightly so.

While I do that, I’ll say thanks to everyone who checked out the UK special this week. I guess it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world — just kind of a spur of the moment thing I decided to do — but it was fun nonetheless, and whether you’re from that part of the world or not, I hope you got to dig on a few cool bands. There’s good stuff from there these days, and a lot of it. Already I have more UK stuff to review — looking at you, Scotland’s Lords of Bastard — so this is by no means the end of that. As ever, more to come.

In addition, stay tuned next week for reviews of Mamont, Skanska Mord, Witchcraft and Egypt, as well as a H-U-G-E interview with Stefan Koglek of Colour Haze, who turned in easily the most detailed set of answers to an email Q&A I’ve ever seen. That’s all upcoming, as well as some huge news about Clamfight‘s release on The Maple Forum, a look at BerT‘s latest vinyl, and much more. As always, I hope you’ll stick around.

Until then, have a great and safe weekend. I owe a bunch of emails and Thee Facebooks messages, so I’ll be hoping to take care of that and a few email interviews going out as well, but I’ll still be checking in on the forum, so if you’re around, we’d love to have you. Either way, see you back here Monday and thanks as always for reading.

Tags: , , ,

Top 20 of 2010 #14: Wovenhand, The Threshingfloor

Posted in Features on December 9th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Rife with gorgeous melodic complexity and a depth of arrangement I’ve not heard matched this year, The Threshingfloor by Colorado doom folk troupe Wovenhand is probably my favorite work by the David Eugene Edwards-fronted outfit since their 2002 self-titled debut. Edwards, who started Wovenhand in the wake of his prior traditionalist ensemble, 16 Horsepower, is among his generation’s most underrated songwriters, and the richness of The Threshingfloor only bears that further out.

This was to be Wovenhand‘s worldliest offering yet, with Turkish instrumentation and the kind of minor key vibes we in the West call “Eastern,” but The Threshingfloor is every bit the piece of Americana anything helmed by Edwards has ever been. Cuts like the depressive “Singing Grass” or the more joyful coming-home ode “Denver City” don’t try to hide their American folk roots, but like the best of modernity, they refine these traditions and expand on them. Edwards‘ arrangements are unmistakable, and on the jamming and heavy “Orchard Gate,” it’s plain to hear he’s at the height of his prowess.

The Threshingfloor has been my go-to nighttime driving album since I bought it back in July, and I think it’s going to be some time yet before I let it leave my trusty CD wallet. Like until the next one comes out. Definitely one of my personal favorites of 2010 and a record that loses none of its potency for repeated exposure. Also, for newcomers to the band, it’s a good place to start.

Tags: , , ,

Buried Treasure: Here are a Couple Albums I’d be Reviewing if I Hadn’t Bought Them

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 27th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I’m not exactly awash in free shit, but with a backlog of promo discs and downloaded albums waiting to be reviewed, it wouldn’t be fair for me to take the time and effort away from people soliciting evaluation and grant it to stuff I bought just because I feel like talking about music I like. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be right for me to ignore good records just because I didn’t get them for free. Enter the happy medium.

Here are two records that’d be on top of the review pile had I not bought them instead:

Wovenhand, The Threshingfloor: I did an old school CD store search for this album. True, I could have bought it from Sounds Familyre, the label, but I wanted the satisfaction of finding it on a shelf and making the purchase. Only after calling and visiting more than five stores, including such heavy hitters as Vintage Vinyl and Generation Records did I finally come across a copy at Other Music in NYC. I knew they’d have it. They’re just that hip.

If you’ve never experienced David Eugene Edwards (formerly of 16 Horsepower), there are two things you need to know about him: he’s a genius and he’s super-Christian. Oh man, does he ever love him some Jesus. And it shows on the music, but if you let that bother you, you’re going to miss out. Michelangelo‘s Sistine Chapel is Christian too, doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful.

On The Threshingfloor, Edwards reminds that although he’s one of the most gifted songwriters and vocalists out there today, his true point of innovation and individuality is in arrangement. He brings in a variety of styles (from electronic drum beats and a New Order cover to Hungarian shepherd’s flute on a song about a town in Indiana) to these songs, and it might be his most accomplished collection yet. There are some downright rocking moments (“Denver City”), but Edwards is never really reigned into one genre or another. In short, I’m really, really glad I found this record, and I think when and if you hear it, you might be too.

Master Musicians of Bukkake, Totem Two: I actually bought this back in April at Roadburn, and I’ve been debating back and forth ever since whether or not to give it a full review. Helping the “no” side is laziness, since the seven-piece (plus guests) Master Musicians of Bukkake make music so complex it would literally take me days to describe every twist, turn and influence on Totem Two, their style harkening a ritualistic drone meshed with world music structures and instrumentation. Totem Two isn’t going to be for everyone, but man, there’s a small group of people out there who are going to worship at its proverbial feet.

The most recognizable figure in the band is Randall Dunn (producer for SunnO))), etc.), but Master Musicians of Bukkake isn’t the kind of outfit where one player really stands out. Rather, it’s an encompassing listening experience demanding attention, an open mind and patience. It is unrepentantly self-indulgent, unwaveringly pretentious and, in the shadow of its predecessor, Totem One (also on Important Records), so caked in complexity that you get tired just hearing it. Spiritually drained, but in a good way, as though you’ve been on some kind of auditory vision quest and glimpsed the horror of your own consuming insignificance.

…There. That’s a load off my mind. I hope you get to check out either of these records, and when you listen, I hope you dig them even half as much as I do.

Tags: , , , , , ,