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Woven Hand - Blush Music CD (album) cover


Woven Hand

Prog Folk

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars I was never sure whether this album is coming from the choreographed Ultima Vez (one last time) dance show in Belgium or that the music in the present album was taken to form the show. In either case, the studio album is a real pleasure to listen to, even if you don't appreciate dark music. As a matter of fact, the dark aspects can be easily forgotten in most of WH's works. I usually don't do this, but I'd like to address my colleague's reviews of this group's oeuvre, that although it is a dark and gloomy world with some severe religious overtone, it's easy to by pass these "flaws" and just enjoy it for what it is: good folk rock albums, in which, contrarily to my colleague Clem, I hear absolutely no country, but well different forms of folk music. I think it's important to make the distinction between Eastern (shall we say Appalachian folk musics) and Western (country & western and country rock), the barrier being roughly the Mississippi River, with the Louisiana Cajun and Acadian particularities siding on the Eastern side. This notion is essential to progheads' relatively natural hate for anything remotely country-esque, and therefore not being afraid of my trusted collab Clem's use of the "country" terminology.

Another thing: even if I lose a certain facet of DEE's music, being atheist I have no intention on deciphering his weird religious beliefs and frankly I invite you to do the same without fear of subliminal contagion. Apparently most of the instruments seem to be played by DEE himself, bar some piano from accomplice McMahon and drums by longtime associate Garrison.

After a normal folk rock opening, riddled with banjo picking, the album plunges into the mammoth (14-mins) and repetitive Animalistos, better heard as Ain't No Sunshine, starting with a lengthy gloomy and dronal post-rock intro, taking its sweet time to really kick off. Once it does (by the end of the fourth minute), the track builds slowly, obviously taking every meander of dirt roads and night time riding, often interrupted by sound effects (children plays & XX) but picking up immediately after where it had left off, thus creating a very dramatic climate throughout the track. White Bird brings some hope and a welcome change, with its Zep/Unledded feel (DEE sounds sometimes like Robert Plant in the new millennium), but it all too soon over. Another highlight is the uberdonker 8-mins Snake Bite, where over half the track is taken up as a strong brooding intro, full of dronal distorted and torured instruments, before an incredible cello takes over menacingly over nearly-sinking wooden ship creaks and slowly turning into complete madness..

How to follow up such a depressing end? By starting on a very bright and hopeful keyboard line, which My Russia does, before slowly veering towards acoustic guitars and out-of-this-world (unidentified) bass surges.

Returning creepy wooden ship creaks and whispers are somewhat chilling the listener in Aeolian Harp with a mouthed foghorn make a slow transition for DEE's guttural vocals, making sound insane as only Buckley Sr. or Wyatt could've, but on a much different key. Even the surprisingly loud drums starting Another White Bird are not enough to shake us fromour torpor, even if this is from far the most upbeat track of the album, again sounding slightly Zeppelinesque (or should I say Plant-esque?), before the album closes in a very moody and abstract tune Story And Pictures (again heard elsewhere). And more creaks. ¸ The album goes on the same solemn gloomy mode, a very even affair with no weak points and generally the spell cast on you is long durable enough to urge to press play another time. There is an hypnotic nature to WH's themes, one that sets a bit uneasy, because the album is not a happy one, even if there are many moments of solemn beauty even in its full creepiness. Might just be WH's best album (tied with Mosaic, IMHO) and it constructed from a slightly different mould than the other three albums.

Report this review (#158228)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars A disappointing sophomore effort, "Blush Music" retreads several tracks which appeared on the group's debut, likely in the service of the musical in which it was used. In particular, "Animalitos(Aint No Sunshine)" and "My Russia" both were unstoppable in their "original" incarnations, "Your Russia" offers little but more drudgery, and "Story and Pictures" found a better setting on the self titled disk.

The ambiance and sound effects drag on to distraction, which may or may not work with the performance but don't sans visuals. "Cripplegate" is one of the only highlights, thanks to plucked banjola reminding us that David Eugene Edwards is indeed one with his barren surroundings. Elsewhere he channels so much VIOLENT FEMMES and JAPAN that his earthy base is choked by sheets of 80s granular packed powder. "Animalitos" adds volume and some worthwhile atmospheres but as it winds down it embarks on a descent into the unmusical depths hitherto unplumbed, but tragically revisited on "Snake Bite" and "Aeolian Harp". This might appeal to fans of wholly unstructured genres but Mr Edwards needn't have gone there.

Perhaps the subtle humanity and warmth in DEE's chill was not needed in the soundtrack because it was nurtured by the dance performance. In and of itself, this "Blush Music" appears as a credible version of the real thing but leaves a bitter taste. Stick with the debut or with some of the better subsequent disks.

Report this review (#658406)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Review Permalink

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