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Blake I. Collier | The Dirty Deacon

Contributor for Mockingbird | Co-creator of Son of Byford | Contributor for Christ & Pop Culture
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Wovenhand

Live video of Wovenhand doing “The Beautiful Axe”

The Beautiful Axe by Wovenhand

Another tremendous track on this album.  It opens the album with the pace that will carry through a majority of the songs.  Even though this album is more accessible, his lyrical content is still poetic and anything but straightforward. 

White Knuckle Grip by Wovenhand

The raw rock power of this song is just to thrilling to pass over.  This is just a great rock tune, especially with the accordion introduction (kind of a throwback to “American Wheeze” of the 16 Horsepower days!).  Gotta love it.

Not One Stone by Wovenhand

This is one of the most straightforward songs to ever grace the recordings of Wovenhand.  Admittedly, this album is known for being their most accessible one.  The song drives the listener to the chorus and pounds it into their head. 

"Behold the Lamb, Behold the Lamb, given for us, made curse for us.  Behold the Lamb…Not one stone atop another will stand."

It doesn’t get any more blunt than that with Wovenhand and, yet, it still doesn’t sound preachy behind the melodic drive of the song.

2012: The End of the World…Week 10

Wovenhand - Puur

Does this album belong at the top of the Wovenhand catalog?  No.  Is it an extremely layered and interesting Wovenhand album?  Yes.  Very much so.  Once again, Wovenhand teamed up with Ultima Vez to formulate a new experimental dance production and the corresponding soundtrack for the production.  And, once again, a good portion of this album are remixes of past albums; in this case,  Consider the Birds and Mosaic.  However, unlike Blush Music, a large portion of the music on here is instrumental with dramatic monologues weaved in and out of the whole album.  This is almost a symmetrical album:

a. To Make A Ring (sung) - Wovenhand remix

    b.  Breathing Bull (instrumental) - Wovenhand remix

    b.  Shun (instrumental) - Wovenhand remix

         c.  Horse Head (sung) - acoustic version of 16 Horsepower song

              d. Lulah Harp (instrumental)

         c.  Low Estate (sung) - acoustic version of 16 Horsepower song

    b.  Twig (instrumental) - Wovenhand remix

    b.  Dirty Blue (instrumental) - Wovenhand remix

    b.  Lena’s Song (instrumental)

a.  Silver Saddle (sung) - remix of 16 Horsepower song

Overall this album feels symmetrical and complete.  Like the order was significantly chosen to gain the most emotive and narrative force for the production.  Leave it up to David Eugene Edwards and crew to create extremely dark and dreary atmospherics for what seems to be a rather dark story.

Speaking of the story, there is a lot of interpretation that could go into the culmination of the music and monologues that make up this album.  The most interesting part is that the story (whatever your interpretation is) has a definite Russian existentialist feel to it.  Its like Dostoyevsky came in and wrote the monologues himself.  The spotlight of this album is the mixture of the deeply religiously-toned music and the dark and enigmatic words of the actors speaking over it.  However, with all of the positive elements of this album, it doesn’t make the listening experience enjoyable and this is an album that weighed on my ears heavily as the week went along. 

At the end of the day, Blush Music is still the most comprehensive mixture of intrigue and entertainment of the Wovenhand/Ultima Vez collaborations.  But if you are looking for something to scratch your head over, then I would humbly place this at your feet.

Apocalyptic Rating: 9 out of 10 (They want an anti-me, an antidote, an anti-boss)

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A special Friday treat, Wovenhand’s acoustic live cover of Bob Dylan’s “As I Went Out One Morning.”

Another clip of the Ultima Vez production, Puur, set to Wovenhand’s “To Make A Ring.”

Horse Head (Puur Version) by Wovenhand

Doing an acoustic remix of 16 Horsepower’s 1996 song, “Horse Head,” off of Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes, this simple version brings more power to the song than I think the original did.  Along with their acoustic version of “Low Estate”, these two songs bolster up the lyrical nature of the album, because there is not much lyricism outside the dramatic readings by, I am assuming, the Ultima Vez players.  The guitar strums are heavier and the singing is more raw, which adds to the abstract storyline that is presented throughout the whole of the album.

A clip from the Ultima Vez production,Puur, set to the tune of “Low Estate” off of this week’s record.

Part 3 of David Eugene Edwards interview with Paul Kearns of Imhotep.

Dirty Blue (Puur Version) by Wovenhand

With a nice creepy voice that is being sped up and slowed down for effect at the introduction of this song, this instrumental version of the Mosaic track plays into the heaviness that has been the atmosphere of the album up until that point.  Once again, the composition of the song fits nicely as an instrumental track.  This song breaks a suffocating slowness that is built up from To Make A Ring.  The violin soars to the front of the auditory stage in this version of the song, giving a needed urgency to an album that seems to be alright with taking its time.

To Make A Ring (Puur Version) by Wovenhand

The largely instrumental re-imagining of this Consider the Birds track retains the quick pace and atmosphere of the original version, however most of the words are taken out and, when they do make an appearance, they are subjected to the background so that the heavy beat and composition can be considered on its own merit instead of being the backing to the lyrical content of the song.  The same message is delivered in both versions (with or without words!) and that is largely attributable to the compositions created by Edwards and crew.  The dramatic vocals on this album add an interesting element to the music as well. 

2012: The End of the World…Week 9

Wovenhand - Mosaic

By now, I am pretty used to the sound of Wovenhand’s music.  Like I said before, there is not much variation from album to album, but with music this solid, there is no real need to shift style.  Most of the songs are of a reflective and somber tone with the few occasional upbeat tunes (“Bible and Bird” and “Whistling Girl”).  The main difference between this album and the previous offers are the various attempts that instrumental tracks.  “Breathing Bull” opens up the album with a sparse and eerie opening tone overlaid on top of an eternal and changeless hum.  Along the way, we have “Bible and Bird” and “Little Raven” as other instrumental additions to the album.  “Slota Prow-Full Armour” opens up instrumentally with Edwards’ voice accompanying it with a spoken piece in a language that he pieced together from other languages.  The song melds into the second half that is an exposition on Ephesians and the imagery of the armor of God.  The speed from the first half of the song to the second increases and creates a slightly off-kilter feeling to the song as a whole.

This album has a few excellent standout tracks and the instrumentals actually work quite well in the mix for Wovenhand.  However, the overall feeling of the album seems a little uneven and inconsistent.  There are a couple of songs on here that just don’t add a whole lot to their catalogue.  This is far from saying that this is a bad album, because it’s not.  However, in the big scheme of their catalog, this one fails to meet the high expectations that were met by the others.  The tremendous standout tracks are not enough to pull this album all the way through.  It is tough to say that this album would be the bottom of the list for this band, because compared to a good portion of albums out there, this one still kills.  But put up against the other work from Edwards, it just doesn’t quite come through.

Apocalyptic Rating: 7 out of 10 (His anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever)

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A late Friday treat for you all, Wovenhand’s “Truly Golden” live in Norway (2007).

Truly Golden by Wovenhand

Another tune that sets such beautiful melodies behind a haze or hum, much like “Chest of Drawers.”  Written by Peter van Laerhoven, this song dwells on the broad brush strokes of God’s love and how me relate to it.  A love that encourages and chastises its benefactors.  A reminder that love is more than sentimentality; it is purposeful, intentional, reconciling, and redemptive.  Though sometimes by water and sometimes by fire, God will bring his own to Himself.

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