Review: Witxes - A Fabric of Beliefs (2013)


artist: Witxes
release: A Fab­ric of Beliefs
format: CD, 2xLP
year of release: 2013
label: Den­ov­ali
dur­a­tion: 53:06

Witxes’ debut album Sorcery/Geography almost made it to our list of last year’s favour­ite releases, and now, after not too long a wait, we’re treated to a strong follow-up album. It’s the first release on new label Den­ov­ali, and it coin­cides with a rerelease of the first album bear­ing the same new imprint. In short: that’s two double LPs worth pick­ing up.

A Fab­ric of Beliefs starts off a bit slow, per­haps, with the tri­part­ite “Through Abraxas”, but these tracks do show that com­poser Maxime Vavas­seur still has a firm grip on his elec­tron­ics, drones, and some chug­ging rock parts. The buildup is very good, and it works towards a pretty dark cli­max, which is beau­ti­fully off­set by the bright and shim­mer­ing acous­tic gui­tar of “The Strands”.

In the middle of the album, we find bits of that ambient/jazz hybrid­ity that typ­i­fied some of the best tracks of the first album. For example, “The Apparel” is like a slow amble through a dark city street and a glit­ter­ing cave at the same time, omin­ous and won­drous, with a lovely bas­soon lead. These tracks show the most vari­ation in the album and are a pleas­ant trip through vari­ous ideas, like the unnerv­ing fla­menco clap/noise of “The Weavers” and the spa­cious per­cus­sion & sax jazz of “The Pil­grim”.

The middle part is con­cluded with gently chirp­ing cica­das and other night­time anim­als, a soft tapestry that invites that tender folk­i­ness of “The Words”, that one song among instru­ment­als near the end of the album, sim­ilar to “No Sor­cerer of Mine” on the pre­vi­ous one. It’s a simple but effect­ive piece that leads into the full warm waves of “The Moon­lit Pas­sage”.

The sound on this second album is as var­ied as that on the first, if not more. Some­times warm and deep, some­times bright and fizz­ing, and always crys­tal clear. It is some­what of an ‘authored’ album, many ele­ments being stitched together deftly in com­posed pat­terns, but per­haps some­what non­spon­tan­eous because of that. It doesn’t really bother me, though. It’s a listener’s album, a very good one, and one that flits effort­lessly between dif­fer­ent styles without sound­ing stretched. Bravo, once more.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Through Abraxas I (6:08)
2. Through Abraxas II (6:14)
3. Through Abraxas III (5:00)
4. The Strands (5:00)
5. The Apparel (6:01)
6. The Breach (1:16)
7. The Vis­ited (5:59)
8. The Weavers (2:00)
9. The Pil­grim (4:37)
10. The Turned (3:30)
11. The Words (4:17)
12. The Moon­lit Pas­sage (2:59)