17 For ’17: Woven Skull

Including Woven Skull in our 17 for ’17 list feels like a little bit of a cheat, seeing as they have been producing music together since 2008. The trio have been lurking quietly in rural Leitrim, making music that is as rugged, gnarled and atmospherically captivating as the landscape they operate within. Utilising raw experimental sounds and field recordings from woods, hills and abandoned houses as textural enhancers has given Woven Skull’s output to date a depth of space and size that is exhilaratingly tense. While most of their releases up to this point have been collections of assembled field recordings, in a live setting and scattered throughout their oeuvre the core trio make use of turbulent drums and fervent, circular, guitar and mandola patterns to create a sonic experience that is cavernous and exhilarating. Their first full “album” in the more traditional sense of the term, Lair of the Glowing Bantling, was released in 2015 and brought the psychedelic guitars and hypnotic percussion to the fore. Tracks such as the LP’s opener ‘Ludo’ and ‘Sea Graves’ inspire a propulsive katabasis, a clamorous hypnosis that calls to mind something altogether quite spiritual.  Aonghus McEvoy’s frenzied, open sounding guitar motifs coupled with Natalia Beylis’ mandola and Willie Stewart’s assault on the toms and crash of his kit hark to the most feral ends of prog and psyche rock, borrowing in part form the rawness and severity of black metal in parts. It is hard to disconnect the sounds of Woven Skull from the wild nature that they draw from, from the unshakeable life of raw sound and the trance that it can send those willing to embrace it into. Keep your ears open for the trio and their cast of guest musicians in 2017. The chance to experience their dizzying performance is not to be missed. Eoin Murray Photo for the The Thin Air by Colum O’Dwyer Lair of the Glowing Bantling by Woven Skull