Woven appears as a collective of six carbon-based bi-peds out of Big Glamorous Image City, Southern California. Their first full-length electrobaby, 8 bit monk blends the best aspects of electronic beats and rich analog and digital sounds with creatively implemented "real" instrumentation as seamlessly as a Japanese sock puppet. This beautifully arranged sonic marriage of sound and vision could turn a great white shark feeding frenzy into a bloody, but polite and receptive audience.
Seeing Woven live is a real treat for the discerning chocolate bar enthusiast. The instrumentation consists of two drum sets with sample triggers, bass, synthesizers, vocal chords, and guitars. But the preconceived idea of guitarists fits about as much as calling Hunter S. Thompson a sportswriter; it may be true, but doesnâ€™t necessarily apply. The guitars and bass often get mistaken for the synths, and vice versa, if not in physical appearance, then in sound emitted. With a bit of luck, Woven has helped the concepts of rhythm and lead guitar float far away in a sea of envelope filters, delay and textural taste. Their rump-shattering, jungly-break-tribal beats and incredibly fat bass lines will send bands all over the world to their most conveniently located ghetto, instruments in hand, kits disassembled, to give some urban lackey kids a stab at it.
The vocal and synth melodies, and emotional soundscapes will make every band that failed to reach beyond power chords and monster ballads run home to mommy for college money. The authenticity of sentient lyrical thought will make every singer, who reinforced the status quo of the ways of the world by singing but never having a thing to say, move to the Himalayas for a reclusive life of meditation and tea. Truly, this album is a historic musical milestone along the hills that are alive with the sound of musical integrity. For Woven, and their larger community of musical family, it represents the culmination of over ten years of transcendentally epic jams, glitchy beat science experimentation, octo-space funk sessions, and an annual Mecca to the deserts of Barstow for generator-powered pure instrumental expression with one goal for the year - stay inspired.
Wovenâ€™s dedication to both playing music and pioneering music technology may best be exemplified by Interscopeâ€™s unprecedented decision to let them produce their first album at their own homegrown music studio, The Cat Toy Factory. Any six of these units of flesh, cartilage, and brain tissue can play any of the other instruments that theyâ€™re not assigned to remarkably well. That said, here is a breakdown of the individual components in order of partiality to amphibious rodents.
Mike: (synths, samples, programming) At his funniest, Mike can be benevolently over-friendly with a mixture of true sarcasm and true warmth. His ability to come up with gorgeous melodies is trumped only by his ability and love of designing sounds - a knobtweaker of all things great and small and purveyor of all frequencies, sub and high. If you took all the time Mike spent on music and replaced it with sleeping, the medical terminology used would be "death".
Marc: (beat scientist, drums, engineer) Mark, also known as he who will never under any circumstances cut his hair, is a very talented drummer and computer nerd. This, in combination with his extreme meticulousness and dedication to the digital domain, has created a sort of good luck vortex for having amazing musical equipment simply given to him time and time again in "that sh*t just doesnâ€™t happen to people" fashion.
Richie: (drums, keyboards, throat) Even with an incurable shoe fetish (some say three pairs a week), Richie (occasionally pronounced Reeshie) still has time to play mad drums. He is what Bam-Bam might have been had he found his parents secret medical cabinet and what Animal might have been if he had been less yang. Beautiful voice. Great heart. Excellent hearing. Good eyesight. Good guy through and through.
Ory: (throat, guitars, drum programmer, tweak doctor) Ory has a penchant for sixteen hour sessions only to leave the studio half-emaciated for a two-minute session of man vs. burrito. He is an incredibly gifted musician and singer with an amazing ear for arrangement and structure. A surfer of the biggest sine waves. His humanity is such that you can nearly drown his cats, flood his apartment, (same incidents), and be the cause of his front bumper being held in place with bungee chords, and he will still extend his hand, perhaps hesitantly, in friendship. Try it, I did!
Steve: (guitar, pedal tweaker) After his escape from the lower levels of Area 51, Steve began crafting beautiful, emotional landscapes of guitar sounds. He is often found crouched next to his pedals mouthing the coming tweak (with his mouth). Steve has actually studied algebra simply to improve his logical mind. His ranting and ravings, on paper or otherwise, are amongst the most peculiar in this spiral arm of the galaxy.
Johnny: (bass, throat) On a strange planet in a parallel universe that does not have a concept for art, Johnnyâ€™s twin is cold and starving. His punchy bass playing, sometimes sparse, sometimes spastic, is a true testimony to what one can do when they are incapable of doing anything else. I am so grateful that Johnny plays bass not only because he is the living end of low frequency inspiration to me, but also because it keeps him from grabbing various beverages out of peopleâ€™s hands. The resonant honesty in his embracing voice and lyrics, expletive included, feels like a home-coming. (Wellâ€¦not my home, but home.)
Woven will open your mind more than big business does the ozone layer. They will raise your heart higher than the tallest surgeon doing a triple bypass for gigantic space aliens. They will move your booty faster than a drunken pirate late for a swordfight. If you love this album as much as I do and wonder how such musical innovation can occur, I can assure you that it is merely a product of their individual trailblazing spirits as connoisseurs of all things real in a city made with bits of plastic.