When North American fans of 16 Horsepower are finished drooling over front man David Eugene Edwards’ Woven Hand debut — finally brought to the light of day on these shores by the fine folks at Sounds Familyre, and previously reviewed in these pages as an import release — they’re going to want to head over to the Glitterhouse website and pick up a copy of Blush Music, Woven Hand’s sophomore effort. Immediately.
Not a proper album as such, Blush Music is a collection of music composed for use by the Belgian dance company Ultima Vez. Now, I’m not that familiar with modern dance in general, or with this company at all, but if they’re using this stuff as their base point — and they’ve already contracted Edwards to work up material for their next show — then it must be stark, compelling stuff. Edwards channels his darker side here, the music is all creak and wheeze, crows squawking, voices echoing down empty hallways, and the half-felt traces of ghosts passing through.
Sure, the standard Edwards instrumentation is here — pounding drums, ominous guitars, accordion wheeze, heavily reverbed banjos — but Edwards and long time producer Bob Ferbrache have gone back and deconstructed what makes Edwards tick. They’ve isolated certain elements, folded them back in on themselves and reassembled them into one of the most difficult pieces of work of Edwards’ career, but also one of the most rewarding. Though only three cuts are truly “original” to this release — the rest are reworkings of material that previously appeared on the self-titled release — the reworked material is altered to such an extent that the emotional impact is entirely different. For proof, see the stunning fourteen-minute reworking of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
Ultima Vez describes the Blush production as being about isolation and Edwards has tapped into that perfectly. There’s a sense of darkness and emotional fragility that spreads through his music here on a purely visceral level. Brilliant stuff and here’s hoping that Soundsfamilyre manages to bring this to local shores as well.
Written by Chris Brown.