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Woven Hand - Mosaic CD (album) cover

MOSAIC

Woven Hand

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 24 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!!

WH's third album is easily their most spectacular to date, both musically and in terms of the superb artwork of the digipack encapsulating the album. Eugene Edwards's second project (after the famous Sixteen Horsepower) is definitely much more interesting to progheads as it delves deeply into old European traditional folks, even sometimes going back to pre-classical times, but never going into country music realm. It is rather surprising to see that much of today's most progressive forms of folk music deals with the old European forms, but are all explored by new world artistes like Faun Fables, P.G. Six, Espers, Long Live Death (all listed in the PA) and of course Woven Hand.

Out of the starting blocks with the atmospheric intro Breathing Bull, the album gets right down to business with the spine-chilling Winter Shaker and its awesome and awe-inspiring Celtic solemnity, this track has us hanging on the edge of out seat, partly because of the really tense banjo lines (yup, even the banjo can sound prog ;o))) and very expressive vocals. It must be noted that Winter Shaker is the archetypal WH sound, and the group will use and abuse this "niche" sound up to unwise levels, both on this album and the previous ones. So don't be surprised to have a déjà-entendu feeling as the disc goes further along. Another strong feature in WH's sound is the dramatic singing, with plenty of justified reverb, somewhere between Bono (Bullet the Blue Sky) and Thom Yorke. Anyway, there is a real "sound" to this album, when the following Swedish Purse starts from zero, builds up to the same solemn ambiance of Winter Shaker, but soon breaks it up for adorable banjo/keyboards exchanges.

Most tracks are kept short, most of them gliding on drones of low frequency, seemingly coming from the planet's wombs and others synth layers flying upstairs. Whistling Girl features a delightful piano answering to banjo and guitars arpeggios. Plenty of atmospherics are also provided in short intros or full interlude (Twig) and some special effects sprinkled around also bring the level of intrigue: besides the shell and maracas percussion, what are those lo-freq double shots in Bible and Bird? Mystery.. Incredibly interesting strings add even more tension in Dirty Blue, while another violin creeps out from the medieval depths of the Mid-East over drones (close to didgeridoos, but that's not it) and Ullean Pipes in Full Armor. There is even a delightful harp intro in the album-closing Little Haven, before slow moaning chants close the proceedings.

While they are very enthralling to progheads, WH is not really a full-blown prog band, just like the mothership 16HP is not one either, both bands probably better described as indie or alternative (folk) rock and certainly not searching complexity for its sake, but their overall aesthetics easily makes this side-project a fully deserved inclusion. A real must-hear for those still hesitating. Coz you won't be for long once you've heard bits of it.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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