Blush Music (Original Soundtrack)
Release Date: February 3, 2003
Released in Europe by : Glitterhouse Records
Released in N. America by: Sounds Familyre
Since Woven Hand's eponymous 2001 debut (reissued earlier this year by the Danielson Famile's Sounds Familyre label), David Eugene Edwards has refined his revelatory vision, cramming inky atmospherics into the rusted-out gears of an apocalyptic music box. On Blush Music, this blue-eyed grandson of a Nazarene priest goes it alone again, serving up a meticulous fire-and-brimstone sermon that surpasses the work of the better known Denver-based trio he fronts, 16 Horsepower.
Released initially as Blush in May 2003 on the German label Glitterhouse (who also release the debut before it found an American label), the album's ten tracks were composed by Edwards to accompany a modern dance performance choreographed by Wim Vandekeybus for his Belgian troupe, Ultima Vez. More interestingly, though, in addition to a handful of previously unreleased tracks, Blush Music revamps and expands upon a number of backwoods dirges from the debut: the last record's brief cover of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" emerges monumentally as the fourteen-minute "Animalitos (Ain't No Sunshine)", sounding like a moment from Current 93's All the Pretty Little Horses, and including extended nonvocal passages, creepy children's voices, nocturnal bird sounds, bass drones, and the sharp rumble of burning wood.
Likewise, "My Russia (Standing on Hands)" and "Your Russia (Without Hands)"-- based on the significantly briefer "My Russia"-- build momentum with shakers, simple percussion, organ wheezes, large doses of quivering feedback from a Gypsy caravan, and Edwards' deep bellow, a combination of Nick Cave shouts and Will Oldham's windswept bays. "My Russia (Without Hands)" is grounded by a heavy bassline and repeated high-pitched guitar note, and at times he sounds like a more literary, less soporific Black Heart Procession.
A denser take on "Story and Pictures" skips like a creaking pin-box coffin until the mess drips away for the clear sounds of a piano and Edwards' less gravely vocal track: "As a boy I drew too near/ To the love of dust." The result of his patience and the compositional layering is a painful, almost unbelievably gorgeous madrigal: the incidental drone of Young Goodman Brown's midnight trek slowed to a crawl, the occult vapors seep in time-lapse to the most unfamiliar corners of a frightening forest.
Blush Music's new material is equally tangled in the rich soil and briar patches of the deep underbrush. With fiddles, mandolins, insects, accordions, whispers, nettles, walnut pews, and splattered green flies, "Snake Bite" and "Another White Bird" are epic Rain Dogs instrumentals tortured 'til they scream. Perhaps the creepiest bit on the record, "Aeolian Harp (Under the World)" begins with whispers and creaking dock sounds that multiply until Edwards intones with a Bill Callahan lugubriousness: "Now is the end of the gentile/ Pluck aeolian harp, my child/ beyond the lust of this moment/ Thin as a pine slat/ It does no good to call you mine." His three-part prophecy-- a weird godless dream-quest-- ends when language evaporates into the sounds of a southern chain gang of ghosts.
Though an avowed Christian, Edwards whittles a brutal seance, one-stepping to the pulpit with a Faulknerian soul-sickness that burrows beyond even Nick Cave's more recent Old Testament pontificating. Temporarily illuminating the opaque portions of a burnt-out interior, Blush Music is a transcendent call-and-response between a man and the variegated joy he's unearthed within the layers of his faith. - Brandon Stosuy / Album Review for Pitchfork
Wovenhand & Ultima Vez
Blush (Performance Score)
Released in 2003 by Glitterhouse Records
This was the " Performance" version of the Score for the Dance Troupe called Ultima Vez.