Boomkat Product Review:
Originally commissioned as part of Unsound's 2020 virtual festival, 'Weavings' assembles Juliana Huxtable, Ellen Fullman, Angel Bat Dawid, Aho Ssan, Resina, Laraaji, Ka Baird, Wukir Suryadi and Rully Shabara of Senyawa and others alongside Nicolas Jaar, who recorded the project over Zoom and mixed it in just 24 hours.
'Weavings' is an ambitious undertaking from Jaar; recording with a virtual orchestra expected to improvise with each other over zoom seems nigh on impossible - we can barely imagine the stress. So it's impressive to hear that the final version - released in unaltered form except for mastering - sounds as good as it does. Jaar was using a high res audio plug-in for Zoom so there's none of the usual artifacts, thankfully, but at times it's hard to believe the artists weren't sat in a room together.
The music isn't gridded to a tempo, which no doubt helps latency problems, but within a few minute of the opening part, which contains contributions from Dirar Kalash, Ellen Fullman, Laraaji, Aho Ssan, Angel Bat Dawid, Księżyc, Pawel Szamburski, Resina, Rolando Hernández Guzmán and Wukir Suryadi, it's pretty clear the collaboration is quite surprisingly dynamic and emotional. On this first part, it's Angel Bat Dawid's contribution that feels most central - on 'Part 1' and the brief 'Part 2', her unmistakable voice gives the music a spiritual anchor. An expert improviser, her presence alone is enough to shuttle an ensemble into magical places.
Aho Ssan steps into the spotlight more assuredly on 'Part 3', twisting his laptop-controlled sci-fi glitchscapes around Karolina Rec, aka Resina's cello and Ka Baird's unsettling vocals. On the weighty 'Part 5', the album reaches a creative high, centering Juliana Huxtable's tongue-twisting poetry and bizarre voice cracking from Indonesian singer Rully Shabara. But it's the final 26-minute improvisation that slots all the puzzle pieces into place, layering instrumental and vocal elements into a droning fog of dystopian noise and sweet, powerful harmony.