Edison Woods
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Edison Woods

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"A beautiful cross between the sounds of Elysian Fields and sentiments of David Lynch, Edison Woods' two albums stand as testament to the exquisite delicacy and mysterious power of their unique brand of burlesque slowcore. Julia Frodahl's
rich yet childlike voice captures both wonder and lost innocence, and her band expands the standard rock arrangements to include accordion, violin, and vintage synthesizers in the service of their haunting, romantic songs. Live, subtly articulated musical passages, spoken word, and theatrical sequences sweep the audience along into the dreamlike world created by this ensemble of remarkably
talented artists." - FLAVORPILL (NYC)


"Truly beautiful, slowly meandering soundscapes, partly with dreamy vocals, a beautiful voice and a talent for melodies. If Sigur Ros, Mercury Rev and Hope Sandoval would record an album together - it could sound like this." - ROLLING STONE


Unapologetically, and even stridently, Edison Woods from New York are that rarest of enigmas: a band that functions equally well as a performance art project and creates installations, utilizing its membership like a collective rather than as a fixed entity. Fronted by principal songwriter and keyboardist Julia Frodahl, this septet's year 2000 self-titled debut album on Canada's Endearing Records label, rippled the indie pond with its moody grace and sensual soundscapes. This second effort is on Germany's awesome Glitterhouse imprint. Its title, Seven Principles of Leave No Trace, loosely references Buddhist dharma; and as a full-length recording, it offers a more wide open view of the band's sound; the guitars are less dominant, the strings and keyboards — acoustic and Rhodes pianos, mellotrons, primitive synths, etc. — predominantly dress these nine shimmering, haunted, songs with a kind of solitary elegance that is at once sophisticated, dynamic, and full of seamless dynamic tension. The album's chromatic palette is purposely limited, and creates a spectral, textural schema where the protagonist, delivering song lyrics that are as poetic as they are rooted in all that lies beneath the surface of relativism and outward perception, is de-centered by and in the music itself.
This is music that reflects the outward breath, the one exhaled by an individual who dissolves herself as she exhales, into the emptiness and interconnectedness of an undefined, limitless universe. A case in point is "Was He A Poet," with its stark, fragmentary lines. it seems to question the protagonist's intent in asking as much as it seeks the answer to the question in the title. Frodahl's delivery states, "I should have known..." but clearly she is only semi-convinced she does now. The sound of sobbing echoes in the backdrop, though it's an instrumental, not human, voice that creates the effect, like the unconsciously audible speaking. A slightly out of tune upright piano and a tapped cello bow usher in "Shirts For Pennies," an ambiguous poem where guitars and strings caress the singer after she offers her questions while admitting her brokenness as the absence of the Beloved haunts her present tense: "And I wish I had your heart/it's enough to make me hand mine over. . . ." The album closes with "Brooklyn Flowers." Frodahl's piano and voice are accompanied only by Simon Wallfisch's cello, and a guitar played by Simon Raymonde (formerly of the Cocteau Twins). The track begins with her singing a cappella the words, "Lover Man," echoing Billie Holiday for a fraction of a second before the piano and guitar enter and she finishes the line: "...I won't let you go down/I’ll make you a bouquet of wild Brooklyn flowers. Ambient sounds haunt the periphery of the cut as Frodahl slowly offers a view of love as something darkly transformational. It's as if her protagonist can sing from the other side of passion, once the darkness has done its work and obliterated the individual who serves love for its own or the sake of the Other now — though the Beloved is consumed with love for someone else. Her voice comes so near to breaking under the weight of this change, the listener has to hold her breath for a moment, seemingly to buoy the singer through this gorgeous yet tenderly violent moment of reckoning. It's a gloriously vulnerable way to end an album to be sure. But in the giving away of everything, as these voices do again and again throughout this recording, Seven Principles of Leave No Trace stands resiliently, naked and tall, as a deeply moving and redemptive work of art.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
- ALL MUSIC GUIDE


Hurrah! Edison Woods, the Brooklyn-based aural/visual art assembly led by Ms. Julia Frodahl, have crafted and set to flight their second tapestry of song. And they've garnered the assistance of some musical luminaries to realize their vision, namely Alan Weatherhead (engineer, producer and/or multi-instrumentalist for such groups as Sparklehorse, Cracker, and Trailer Bride) and Mark Van Hoen (producer, engineer and/or multi-instrumentalist for the likes of Locust, Mojave 3, and Seefeel). As well, guitarist Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) steps in to guest on the final song. Whereas their debut cast a soothing, ephemeral atmosphere resembling diaphanous veils and glistening silks, this time the fabric, no less gorgeous, may be seen as being more akin to deep, jewel-hued velvets and sumptuous brocades weighted by painstakingly embroidered personal details. Ever so gracefully composed and arranged, all elements are much more present than previously so, bringing a sense of immediacy to the proceedings. This is particularly palpable in Frodahl's vocal performance. Formerly singing in a whispery murmur, here she expresses a greater range of character and raw emotion - often approaching the deeply heart-bearing lilt of Chan Marshall. Need proof? Simply give the seventh song "Fiction" a listen, as well as the album's lengthy centerpiece "Was He A Poet". Wow! Indeed, the warmth and allure of Seven Principles Of Leave No Trace brings to mind not that of a comforting blanket, but rather of glowing embers of a dying flame. A haunting, burnished beauty. Once again, very recommended! - AQUARIUS RECORDS


Julia Frodahl knows there is no beauty without mystery. Modest, with inspiring words and an otherworldly ability improper for a western society that presumes progress but sinks more and more each day into the muck of human failings. The artist settled in Brooklyn to be with the beauty in the place to pursue and catch her dreams. Her precious songs report on the depths of the unknown and offer something akin to enlightenment.

“When I work with music, I don’t know why I’m playing a given sequence of notes or constructing a particular musical environment. But it seems to all make sense at the end. It’s experimentation, then pursuing the parts that resonate, sculpting things into a shape or a sound that I like. And what I like of course will depend on how I’m feeling at that time… I feel that if there is anything that I am intentional offering to listeners it’s the power of vulnerability.”

Before her music, words were banal. Poor and clever, trying to describe a music with a view to the heart, with the soul shattered, with the careful position in a passage. Hers is more mental than physical, more spiritual than visible, more airy than earthy. It is folk, but a folk deprived of sun, earth and air, folk from beyond the grave. It is ambient music, but incapable of being vacant. It’s film music, but not over the shoulder, but always we look to the eyes. Outside of time and space, it is intangible, impossible, a little precious, with no connection to the world or reference to the present day. Frodahl says. " Genre-specific references of course have associations related to culture and era, which makes it difficult if you feel relatively separate from these things... But I think you’re right that there are hints of each of those genres in Edison Woods. Perhaps what makes Edison Woods sound the way it does is that it is played by a collection of people who are quite different from each other. Often a band is comprised of people who share very similar musical references, or come from similar towns perhaps, and maybe they dress the same -- which is an expression of something else inside that is similar or that we want to project is similar… This is not the case with us. So what you get is this peculiar combination of sounds, the strange and tender parts of several genres coming together and doing so harmoniously. Even when it doesn’t."

A masterwork of music out of time, wonderfully compassionate, and inspirationally capable of revitalizing not only the love for music but also for life. “In the first album, you can detect a common origin and sensibility I think; but the dynamic and subject matter has evolved. It’s a bit like watching something break through its soft eggshell and emerge. The first album had the cracks, now you can see the feathers sticking through, etcetera...” In any case, with the new record there has fallen a feather – really from a bird.

The love with which Edison Woods prepares their music reaches also to artwork, a move that pays attention to the indescribable. “in everything there is an opportunity to share something, to communicate something… I guess I feel that if one is going to offer the world something to see or hear, if one is going to ask for another person’s time in that way, then it ought to be done with thought and care. So every element we put forth is considered, whether it’s the music, or a photograph, or a pair of shoes worn on stage. A piece of fabric, a box… They all come together to offer a more complete sentiment to you. One that is not meant to be about us, but about being for you.

For Edison Woods, the moment of fruition is now. Although exquisite, the debut album of Edison Woods is 2002, released by the Canadian label Endearing, they could not foresee the huge lights the "Seven Principles of Leave No Trace" would reach.

- Rockdelux


ZINK Magazine, New York
“a mélange of eerie tones mixed with upbeat percussion and whimsical strings..
One layer haunts you, one consoles you, and one intrigues you…
Enhanced by lighting and costume, Edison Woods goes beyond the call of a music performance.”

- Z!NK MAGAZINE



“a demolishing, precious album”
“best album of the year”
- Go Magazine, Spain


Discography

Nest Of Machines (2006)
released in the US/ Canada by Habit of Creation, and in Europe by Borderdreams Records. Features Maxim Moston (Antony & The Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright), Jeff Langston (Antony & The Johnsons), Oren Bloedow (Elysian Fields), Jason DiMatteo (Chocolate Genius), Stephen Ulrich (Big Lazy). Mixed by Emery Dobyns (Antony & The Johnsons, Patti Smith)

Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (2003)
released in Europe by Glitterhouse Records, and in the US and Canada by Habit of Creation. Features Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins), mixed by Mark Van Hoen (Mohave 3, Locust), engineered by Alan Weatherhead (Sparklehorse, Mary Timony)

Self-Titled Debut (2001)

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Bio

Haunting and romantic, Edison Woods delivers majestic songs with a spooky edge. Julia Frodahl's rich yet childlike voice captures wonder and lost innocence, while her band surrounds her with their carefully spun and exquisite web of strings and guitars and other unidentifiable things. Described as the audio equivalent of a David Lynch film, Edison Woods' first two albums stand as testament to the exquisite delicacy and mysterious power of their unique brand of music. The band includes members of Antony & The Johnsons, Elysian Fields, and The Vanity Set.

Since 2001, Edison Woods have performed in the United States, Canada, and Europe. At home in New York, the band has performed at such venues as Joe's Pub, BAMCafé, Tonic, Makor, Spiegeltent, and the Angel Orensanz Foundation. They have also appeared on WNYC Soundcheck and WFMU. Edison Woods has toured through Germany and the UK, and has made frequent appearances in Italy and Spain, including a concert at the Primavera Sound Festival with PJ Harvey, Mercat De Las Flores, Barcelona, a performance art vignette called Last Night I Dreamt I Would Last Forever at En la Frontera Festival, Zaragosa, and concerts at Gazteszena, San Sebastian, La Boite, Barcelona, and La Casa Encindida, Madrid.