Writing about music. When you stop to think about it, it’s a bit odd.
Why write about music when you can listen to it? And once you have listened to it, why write about it?
But humans like to talk. Music is a very good source of things to talk about, whether it’s Rhianna’s latest selfie or technical details of key, tone, technique or equipment.
Which is why writing (which is just talking on paper and more recently on electronic devices) about music, even good writing, tells you more about the writer than the music.
So if I was to say “Woven Entity” by Woven Entity is the best improv album I’ve heard since “Clear Frame”, I’d be showing off. I’d also be misleading you. It would be more accurate to say “Woven Entity” by Woven Entity is the only improv album I’ve heard since “Clear Frame”.
Or the only one I can remember.
Improv (or “making it up as you go along”) is the most difficult of genres of music to define and to find good examples of. And since now everything is defined, labelled and commoditised so it’s easy to sell, this makes improv even more difficult to find, because it’s not well labelled.
And then there are people who think “improv” means” stand up comedy”. Which it doesn’t.
And there’s the question of whether I’ve even labelled it correctly. Woven Entity have been on “Jazz on 3”. So are they “jazz” then, not “improv”? They call themselves “cosmic jazz”. But their great strength is they have their feet on the ground, not their heads in the stars. It doesn’t sound “cosmic” to me (which is good).
It’s all rather exhausting.
But, since this is published on my personal blog I’m not showing off to many people. If you’re one of them and got this far you may have some idea of what I’m talking about.
So of all the CDs I was given over Xmas why is “Woven Entity” by Woven Entity the one I’ve listened to the most?
They have an original sound. It’s a simple, clean, fresh, elegant sound: a large variety of drums, percussion and electronic noises, and Mr Pete Marsh’s double bass. Mr Marsh is a musician who I admire (and I should add a disclaimer that he gave me this CD for free) and his playing is lyrical, funky, gnarly and always tasteful.
On three tracks Julie Kjaer joins in on sax and flute for some extended grooves. She’s very good.
The flute is firmly on my list of “things that should not be allowed in music” (it’s too “cosmic”). However I like Woven Entity so much that in this instance I’m prepared to allow it.