From cult to exhibition value, ‘art’s has no shortage of masks, no shortage of functions, either. In view of today’s repetition of standardized objects, and a simultaneous collective experience that so often ensues, it more often than not simply participates in a new variant of social conduct, namely a sort of distraction, with its artistic function becoming merely incidental.
Interesting, then, that musical group Edison Woods should shake up the rhythm of their calendars as they have. Rather than retreat into hand-made packaging, taking one last sip from the once immense vat of that particular sea, they have given their upcoming full-length effort up to the dramatic amplification and fatal bedazzlement of the web-page. On the first of each month, a new song will appear on the groups web-page, accompanied by an image specific to the piece, all ready to be encountered. In this sense, each element of the album will be able to occur as a sort of appearance before having actually occurred as an album proper.
The first of August brings “Finding the Lions”, the second track on the disc. As an organ clears its throat of digital dust to evocatively granular effect, a rising musical phrase on piano grows like a vine around an elemental flow of rhythmic peaks and troughs. Moving from background to foreground is an organ geyser and strings of delicate tonal color, which generate an emotional voltage that threatens to melt the chanson of Julia Frodahl’s weary nursery-rhythm imagery.
The feel and nature of the piece is accentuated well by the image that participates in rather than accompanies the song. Its more a work of art than photography, just as the woman carried in the car seems plagued by stasis more than travel. As it happens, the song also arrives without ever really having left. In its immediacy, the pervasive yet well-managed melancholy that has shadowed the groups work has rarely appeared quite so alluring.
For all the uncertainty surrounding this decision on the groups part, this much can be said: owing to the manner of its release, consuming its songs on a whim or out of habit will perhaps not be quite so easy. A good many days will distance each track from the other, during which time will be available to fully take each in turn, to consider and reconsider each and every riddle. And only later will there be the chance to take it in as a whole. For the moment, Edison Woods appears poised to release their strongest work yet.