Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's as if Joan Wasser, of Joan As Police Woman, is at odds with those things that happen upon her and those that she's able to make happen. When you listen to her latest album, "The Deep Field," it feels like she's leaning heavily one way and she's less at odds than she's ever been - not that it makes things any easier for her. She's still cosmically stressed out and no one's found a cure for that yet. That's just about holding your tongue right and checking of all of your collected superstitions and foibles, arriving at some conclusion that was destined through voodoo or an interlocking hatchwork that's finicky, but largely held responsible for the ways that everything plays out. Wasser puts a lot of stock into those things that just appear, or that just happen, coincidentally, but she would argue that there's much more to it than that. These are not chance occurrences, but carefully constructed appearances of some sort of sorcery. She believes in the magic of people and nights. She thinks about sparks and the static charges that pass from one person to another, without a word. She looks upon and then listens to the flashes that gash the sky before her. She finds meaning in all of these chance situations and often that meaning is still clouded or given to other interpretations, but it seems to be that some of that ambivalence is part of the intrigue as well. It's not cursed or frowned upon, but seen for what it is - a little bit of nothing and a little bit of everything. It changes from one second to the next and it's gone in a cloud of smoke, whisked away like a feathered thought.
She's attracted to the fumes and the plumes of her shadows. She feels that she's got them located deep inside of her and they speak - sometimes in hushes and other times as if they were trying to wake the dead. She hints that there are wild rides going on that cannot be easily seen. We should know of them and we should expect that these wild rides will spill out, through any paths available, when and where they want to, if they take to such escapes and the vessel is willing to explode some. She believes that she has her own personal Leviathan, inviting the idea that she might consider her soul rented out my that mythological, or is it mostly Biblical, sea monster. It's a little piece of hell, or one of its guardians, if that matters any. There are people who can touch things and make gold. She wonders about them as well. She looks for this magic in many places, always open for its touching. It's what keeps her untamed and yet, here, making the kind of music that feels to be directly channeled from those places that she's been intimate with and well-versed in forever. She's encouraged her shadows to grow bigger and keep her guessing. If only others treated theirs the same.