Edison Woods – S/T

Picture it: mid-February 2000, a group of six New Yorkers gather in a renovated horse stable in Brooklyn, forced to wear scarves and hats and gloves while they practiced their music. They’re creating songs about loneliness, both the quiet time we seek out and the time forced upon us. They deftly mix keyboards with cello and lush guitar, and they never have to turn the volume up. They’re proud to be considered the quietest people in New York.
This is Edison Woods, and those lovely, haunting sounds from their self-titled debut were created in that environment, one that suits this soft, atmospheric band perfectly. For this is the music of winter afternoons and cold, starlit nights when you’re alone in a darkened room, staring out the window. This is the music of dreamy mornings when you don’t want to leave the warmth of your bed. This is simple beauty and soft hamonics, swirling and lovely.
The guitar – and, perhaps, the ebow – on “Vivian” adds a warbling, slightly eerie touch to this quiet track, and I’m instantly thinking of Black Heart Procession. Singer Julia Frodahl’s vocals, so sweet and soft, are mixed perfectly into the mix, creating a swirling, lush sensation. But on “City Lights,” the band takes a more slow-core approach. The vocals are quiet and soft over light guitar and percussion, Low-like mixing male and female vocals. The enigmatic “You Are Bright” blends deep drumming with atmospheric, spacey guitar and keys, the vocals a quiet meandering of poetry.
The very subtle “Fear & Yearn” is perhaps even more sparse than a Low song, focused around little more than soft drums and soft, sonic washes of keyboards, but half-way through, it picks up with guitar and drumming and becomes perhaps the loudest song on the album. Almost as sweet and charming as its name, “Lullabies & Goodbyes” is a gorgeous piece of mellow, lush guitar and atmospheric keyboards, Frodahl’s voice swirling with the mix as another instrument. A bit more moody, Frodahl’s voice is almost desperate over soft keyboards on “Dream of Things.” “I want to be alone with someone else,” she sings breathily.
This is lovely stuff. Fans of more ambient work like Labradford or Windy & Carl will appreciate the subtle beauty of this album, while fans of Low or Mojave 3 will enjoy the lush melodies and atmospherics of Edison Woods. If a band is truly a product of their environment, Edison Woods is a product of those cold winter evenings. This is music to dream by.