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Woven Hand

Prog Folk

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Woven Hand Mosaic album cover
4.01 | 26 ratings | 3 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Breathing Bull (1:30)
2. Winter Shaker (3:43)
3. Swedish Purse (3:30)
4. Twig (2:12)
5. Whistling Girl (4:40)
6. Elktooth (3:17)
7. Bible And Bird (2:21)
8. Dirty Blue (4:42)
9. Slota Prow-Full Armour (5:53)
10. Truly Golden (3:33)
11. Deerskin Doll (5:33)
12. Little Raven/Shun (4:12)

Total time: 45:06

Line-up / Musicians

- David Eugene Edwards / vocals, guitar, bass
- Ordy Garrison / drums
- Daniel McMahon / piano
- Elin Palmer / strings

Releases information

CD GRCD 648 - Glitterhouse Records 2006 (Germany)
CD SF xx - Soundsfamilyre 2006 (USA)

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
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WOVEN HAND Mosaic ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WOVEN HAND Mosaic reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
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.


Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars I sit at the desk in my study watching the New England snow fall gently, and listen for the umpteenth time to this spellbinding release, which, like the forbidden, holds a delicious attraction against one's better judgement. These comparisons are all the more paradoxical since WOVEN HAND is a brainchild of a fellow with deep middle American Christian roots. Still, while the original flavour of the lyrics is beseeching, the music has more in common with the pagan Goth of DEAD CAN DANCE and the suicidal gloom of JOY DIVISION than the shining optimism of popular Christian rock. Among the many wonders of "Mosaic" is how, thanks to David Eugene Edwards' painstakingly sparse visual arrangements and emphasis on melodic development, this is ultimately an uplifting listening experience.

Among the many highlights herein are "Winter Shaker" with a decidedly Native American stamp in the words and the vocalizations, "Swedish Purse" and its mesmerizing organ and banjo, the hypnotic "Whistling Girl", the dirge like "Truly Golden", and the more conventional country instrumental "Bible Bird". Still, the two pinnacles are the transcendent "Dirty Blue", augmented by fiddle and insistent beat, reminiscent of some of the OYSTERBAND's more adventurous work in the late 1990s, and the gorgeous "Deerskin Doll". Edwards' guttural voice complements the sweet melody and the bagpipe like sounds.

Only the atonal missteps of the double tracks "Slota Prow/Full Armor" and "Little Raven/Shun" bring MOSAIC down a half notch or so, almost as if Edwards was testing out a few pan cultural ideas but wasn't sure where to go with them. They might have been more suited to a purely experimental album.

This being my first exposure to WOVEN HAND, I can definitely recommend it as an entry point to the band. A desolate mosaic that offers so much more than cold comfort on this snowy day.

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