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Woven Hand - Mosaic CD (album) cover

MOSAIC

Woven Hand

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 24 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars ‘Mosaic’ is the latest offering from David Eugene Edwards, recorded and mixed like the other Woven Hand works at Studio Absinthe in Elktooth, Colorado. This was a winter recording, and the harsh coldness of the Rocky Mountain winter comes through very strongly throughout the record. This is Edwards’ darkest and most coarse album to-date, much closer to the heavier work of his former band 16 Horsepower than the first three Woven Hand records.

Edwards seems to have become progressively more abrasive over the past several years, with Woven Hand’s music evolving musically from borderline Appalachian folk to this latest very stark and sometimes dismal Americana goth sort of thing. The folk instruments are mostly gone here, as they were on his previous release ‘Consider the Birds’, and the placement of sonic drone and recorded sounds is much more prevalent than before. This record actually reminds me a lot of Opeth’s ‘Damnation’.

In addition to his convincing ‘Scary Monsters’ Bowie-like sound, Edwards also seems to have boned up on his Doors discography, with several tracks having the same sort of doom emotion and Morrisonesque vocals. “Winter Shaker” and “Twig” are the most notable, but most of the tracks could be seen as fitting into this category.

There are exceptions. On “Whistling Girl” Edwards’ banjola makes a return appearance, along with long-time associate Daniel McMahon on piano. This is the grunge-meets-country sound Edwards perfected with the first Woven Hand album, and is probably his most appealing. “Bible and Bird” is another track that fits this description and is the most striking instrumental on the album, as is “Little Raven/Shun” although this one is a even more base and despairing than the rest of the album.

But his music isn’t about comfort and the familiar; rather, Edwards clearly feels some sort of sense of mission to make us uncomfortable in the way that art meant to evoke thought does. Like shock art, Woven Hand music challenges those who are lethargically coasting through life to look up and give some thought to the some of the basic questions of our shared humanity: evil, religion, despair, relationships. Lots of artists may attempt to capture the imagination and attention for the same purpose, but Woven Hand’s modern tempos and turgid lyrics have a dusty-road street cred that most music of similar vein does not.

The comparison to a young Johnny Cash is inescapable when one listens to David Eugene Edwards’ music. His sound is more modern, but the mood and the message are just as matter-of-fact and cold. This is the voice of the whiskey-soaked, wild-eyed and grizzled carnie evangelist lurching across a dilapidated wooden stage under a side tent at the Chautauqua traveling fair, his twisted and rotting teeth and sun-cracked lips spewing out dire warnings of hell, damnation and the apocalypse to a dull crowd who are both willing participants and at the same time repulsed by the man and by the message. Good medicine often tastes bad, and if you’re not careful it can kill you.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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