If their first album, released a little over three years ago, was a breath of fresh air, then it’s fair to say that “Two” blows a similarly incandescent breeze through the music world in an even more satisfying, accomplished way.
The band’s mix of African-style rhythms and intergalactic sounds is an ever-intriguing and beguiling palette of sound that makes them temptingly unique. There are other acts around that walk a similar path, but Woven Entity’s stylishly crafted music is out there on its own when it comes to jazz/roots/electronica eclecticism.
Woven Entity are Patrick Dawes, Lascelle Gordon and Paul May; three percussionists and drummers with a huge range of playing experience between them, from dance music to jazz, rock and folk to free improvisation and all points in between. “Two” is the result of several studio sessions with some long term friends and collaborators including saxophonists Chris Williams and Julie Kjaer, keyboardist Ben Cohen, along with newer recruit pianist Diana Gutkind, and a mini string section courtesy of Roddy Skeaping, Abby Wollston and Fra Rustumji.
The overall vibe on this album is very similar to the band’s debut, yet to me sounds far more focussed. That’s not to say that it’s any less eclectic or experimental, with its elements of spiritual jazz, electronic dance and the avant-garde all shining as brightly as ever before. The percussive beats still make up the most important part of the music, but there are more layers here, more depth and texture with the bursts of free-jazz rising and falling across their multi-faceted musiverse.
There are shades of everyone from Sun Ra to The Art Ensemble of Chicago to Alice Coltrane to The Orb to Soft Machine… the genres blend and the captivating music ensues in its very own veritable whirlpool of expression. On one level it sounds so simple, yet on another so complex… and that’s the beauty of this music; it works so well on so many different levels. It’s technically so skilful, and yet at once so wonderfully emotive. It’s wildly expressionistic, and yet so careful and precise. It’s planned and composed, yet so intuitively improvisational.
One thing I would say about this album is you really do have to ‘experience’ it. To my mind it’s not one of those recordings you can just dip into here and there. To get the full immersive beauty of this album it’s a case of back to old-school listening for me… stick on the headphones, get into that luscious sound that’s feeding your ears, relax, give in to it, and enjoy the groove-laden vibe that follows. Play from start to finish. And replay. And replay. And replay…