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8 Bit Monk

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Album Review

For the full-length 8 Bit Monk, L.A.'s Woven ups the groove and removes much of the subtlety it displayed on Eprime, its brief 2001 debut. While that recording often resembled a weirdly cool collaboration between the Deftones and Aphex Twin's more ambient side, this latest effort relies too much on convention, and ends up stifling the energy created by its dynamic six-person lineup. The group features a full complement of synths and electronic devices, but also utilizes traditional instrumentation like guitars, bass, and drums. None of the instrumentation — analog or digital — is ever safe from Woven's quest for reinvention. But while the songcraft is strong throughout 8 Bit Monk, that becomes part of the problem — a collective such as this might do well to lock traditional song structure in the same closet it does the concept of a conventional rock band lineup. Maybe it's pressure from the label, or a nod to the mainstream, but 8 Bit Monk tends to meander in Woven's self-created safe zone between electronic and alt.rock, instead of making something happen there. It builds the foundation for a wonderful structure, but falls asleep at the job site. This is disappointing, because there's a lot to like in the sonic tapestry that is Woven. Scattering, processed percussion mixes with plucked acoustic guitar on "Trepanation," and a glowering bassline and grating electric guitar imbue "I Want You Yesterday" with anxious tension. But while Jonathan Burkes' vocal cords are certainly malleable, shifting effortlessly from pleading urgency to harder-edged intensity, over ten songs he becomes Woven's most apparent link to what's been done, and dilute its potential to make something truly new. [This limited edition version of 8 Bit Monk includes the bonus track "Who Knows."]

Customer Reviews

Great CD but...

iTunes does not list track 11...?

This CD ROCKS!!!

I listened to it nonstop during a videogame binge, and it rarely leaves my CD player. This is the type of CD that can be listened to over and over, or you might replay on track over and over again, because they are so good.

Great live, and on CD...

I saw these guyes in Hanover NH, over a year ago, Picked up the CD that night. What a great collection of sounds, textures and emotion. Great disc, these guys have got a cool thing going. I highly recomend!


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Los Angeles-based ambient rock outfit Woven formed in 2001 around the talents of Steve Abagon, Rich Abagon, Marc Viner, and Ory Hodis. The group's debut EP, EPrime, drew favorable reviews and comparisons to everybody from the Flaming Lips to Pink Floyd and Aphex Twin. Woven's signature blend of art rock, trip-hop, and electronica was even more apparent on their full-length...
Full Bio
8 Bit Monk, Woven
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Customer Ratings