Woven Comes to the Retox Lounge

by E. "Doc" Smith on January 25, 2008

This Friday night, the L.A. based group Woven rolls into the Retox Lounge in Potrero. Rolling Stone.com described their music as having “remnants of Curve, Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack work, world music rhythms and Massive Attack.” They’ve had two major releases on Interscope Records, licensed two songs to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and toured the country multiple times. They have recently performed and done interviews on the G Living Network and are moving forward as an independent band on a DIY green mission.

The band strives for a spiritual approach to music and life, and they don’t just talk the talk.On their current west coast tour, they are traveling in a recently converted veggie oil RV. This is Woven’s second tour with the converted RV; its maiden voyage took them across the country and back last September and October. When touring during growing seasons, they also help spread awareness of organic food, farmers and co-ops.

Although well-known bands like Radiohead and Pearl Jam have run green tours or announced carbon neutral travel strategies, Woven’s effort is a hands-on personal commitment. The band members are the ones doing the dirty work of transferring the fuel from storage vats to the fuel line, not to mention finding friendly restaurants to donate their leftover grease in various cities along the way.

Woven’s forthcoming CD, Designer Codes, is the latest evolution of their sound. The songs, including “Cosmonaut” and “Perception Whore,” are decidedly more aggressive than those on their Interscope releases, but maintain their signature alt-rock electronic sound. As always, they are composed as an organic combination of sounds from all the band members, including Ory Hodis on vocals and guitar, Steve Abagon on lead guitar, Barak Steddie on bass, and dual drummers Marc Viner and Rich Abagon sharing time on acoustic and electronic drums and keyboards.

With their 2001 debut release, “EPrime “(Interscope), the L.A. based Woven set out to pave new roads with their signature aesthetic blend of organic and synthetic elements. Exploring the spectrum of electronic and rock influences, the music travels a path from guitar-driven drum and bass to syncopated, sparse IDM, ending in a dark and brooding dreamstate. The eclectic songs from EPrime quickly made their way into heavy rotation and charted nationwide on CMJ as the 5th most added record during it’s cycle for college radio then landing spots on L.A.’s groundbreaking radio station KCRW 89.9.

Throughout the next year, Woven solidified its niche as a unique group of individuals devoted to taking listeners on astral and emotional sonic journeys. In 2003, the band released their second endeavor with Interscope Records, 8 Bit Monk, a wildly imaginative odyssey through the cosmos of soft, glitchy static and melodic rock harmony. Looking to achieve a dynamic mix similar to their debut, EPrime, they re-enlisted the London-based mixing genius, Stephen Fitzmaurice, who honed his mixing skills with such acts as Depeche Mode, U2, Fischerspooner, Seal and Magnet. With the band drawing from such diverse influences as Bjork, Aphex Twin, Pink Floyd, Portishead and Deftones among others, they created otherworldly songbeds for listeners to lie in and ponder life’s moody side.

Such haunting moods would land two of 8 Bit Monk’s songs, “My Conditioning” and “Soul Fossa”, on the hit CBS show, CSI : Crime Scene Investigation. Continuing to attract attention from listeners and the media, Woven was one of the first featured artists on iTunes’ front page, receiving enough downloads to prompt iTunes to extend the bands coverage an additional two weeks. In support of 8 Bit Monk the group performed live sets on L.A.’s KXLU 88.9 and also for AOL’s Sessions which aired on KCRW’s “New Ground” with Chris Douridas and have gotten positive nods from Spin Magazine and the aforementioned RollingStone.com.

Since the release of 8 Bit Monk, Woven toured with Dredg, Codeseven and Strata and played numerous shows across the country with a wide array of acts such as Buckethead, They Might Be Giants, The Like, The Apex Theory, Mellowdrone, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and many more.

Woven guitarist Steve Abagon performed at the very first Coachella festival as the guitarist for Perry Farrell’s post Jane’s Addiction solo endeavor, and recently contributed guitar tracks for folk-rock veteran Rickie Lee Jones. Ory Hodis, Woven’s vocalist/guitarist, also played guitar on Perry Farrells 2001 solo electronica record, Song Yet To be Sung (Virgin).

Woven at The Retox Lounge with Solar Powered People
628 20th Street, Potrero Hill, SF
Friday, January 25th

E. “Doc” Smith is a musician and recording engineer who has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Madonna, Warren Zevon, Mickey Hart, Jimmy Cliff and John Mayall among others. He is also the director of the SF biodiesel non-profit Green Depot and inventor of the musical instrument, the Drummstick. He can be reached at myspace.com/edoctorsmith

Filed under: Arts & Entertainment