"Powerdove is Annie Lewandowski's song project, and it includes a shifting personnel - this time she's working with Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich and French wildcard Thomas Bonvalet, who has recorded striking albums of on-location improv as L'ocelle Mare. The agenda is to create semi-spontaneous arrangements of Lewandowski's simple, folkish songs, staying sparse while employing vivid acoustic colours. The result is a strange mix of sweetness and brightly lit shock tactics, as if a Thomas Hardy heroine from, say, Far From The Madding Crowd, had commandeered harvesting machinery and the hangman's gibbet to re-equip the village mummers.
In her improvising incarnation (recording with Fred Frith et al), Lewandowski is an inside-piano specialist. Here, "All Along the Eaves", "Under Awnings" and "Alder Tree" are all driven by hammered figures on piano strings. Dieterich throws in astringent guitar parts, while Bonvalet switches between quivering concertina (the title track), howling harmonica reeds, and a handclapping style that seems to involve his whole body. Just when you've adjusted to the wild variety on offer, the trio leap into the tropical dance groove of "Love Walked In". Absolutely nothing is permitted to sprawl, and the 13 tracks clock in at 31 minutes.
A bright, detailed recording and fully committed performances result in an exhilarating album, zinging with empty space and surprises. It's a definite advance on powerdove's last outing in 2010, the more wistful Be Mine.
"Deep, rich vocals, irregular chimes, a minimal melody of guitar and what could be soft flute -- Powerdove isn't out for simple, straightforward winsomeness at the start of Be Mine, and that couldn't be better. On her debut, Annie Lewandowski, the one person who makes up Powerdove, plays with the trappings of folk plenty of times but always spikes it somehow, whether with the heavy bass cutting across "Sickly City" or the title track (the latter almost sounding like Swans-level bass without any drums) or the percussion-only start of "Resting Place" leading into downbeat bass, a late-night blues at the darkest of midnights. "Impact" is an especially strong example of how Powerdove both appreciates form and explodes it -- as ever, there's a core around Lewandowski's singing, but everything from metallic whines to a distant, unclear rhythm shapes and surrounds it, something decidedly unnatural in the world of folk's perceived organic nature. It's not solely a case of producing unease -- there's a pleasure in the sonic interplay throughout -- but the religious invocations of "Easter Story" almost sound forlorn or worse given the scraggling hum in the distance or the hollow, very occasional percussion. "Sunlight and Moon" feels almost traditional in comparison, slow but not stretched and with only a shivering hint of rattles or something similar in the distance, though nothing quite beats "Cellophane" for surprise given its sudden quick break and her repeated line "Put your arms around me." If Be Mine cannot be seen as the equal of something like Nico's classic early-'70s solo run, it's not too far away in spirit, an embrace of understatement and focus on the one hand complemented by a looming feeling of restrained power on the other. Not a bad place to be with a debut."
-- Ned Raggett, allmusic
Do You Burn? reviewed in FRACTURED AIR
Do You Burn? reviewed in the French webzine The Drone
Do You Burn? reviewed in The Quietus
powerdove named in "15 artists to watch in 2011" on MusicRadar.com
"This double set of spontaneous improvisations finds the saxophonist and vocalist Caroline Kraabel sharing a disc each with the pianist Annie Lewandowski and the pedal-steel guitarist Susan Alcorn. Lewandowski plays everything on the piano but the keys, and the fearless duo dare each other to make the smallest gestures count in captivating, near silent dialogues..."
--Stewart Lee "The Sunday Times," February 14, 2010
Doublends Vert provide Line's first acoustic-based album. And what a splendid piece of work it. They are a four piece act that use violin, accordion, clarinets and timbales to create dense, musical textures and soundscapes and 'Cistern' was recorded in a two million gallon underground reservoir in Fort Worden, Washington. The sonic acoustics of the environment add a striking quality to an already amazing sound and the processed nature of the music is heady, intense and incredibly hypnotic. The instruments used create a semi-classical feel to the music and this theme recurs throughout. Melodic, for the most part, and arranged (albeit in an improvised fashion) to perfection, there's a cohesive sound to everything that keeps it flowing. At times it soars and uplifts and at others it haunts you... surely the sign of a good album. Possibly one of the most accessible releases so far on Line and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Recommended? You bet. With knobs on."
"On the Line label comes the true surprise. Doublends Vert is a quartet of musicians who play violin, accordion, timbales and clarinet. No computer processing, no glitch and that is something of a change in the label's work so far. The work was recorded in a two million gallon underground reservoir in Fort Worden. The natural reverb of the space acts as it's own electronic processing and at such it's not strange that is released by Line. The players (Adam Diller, Annie Lewandowski, Tom Swafford and Matt Crane) play six pieces of improvised music (I assume) in which the sustain of sounds is important. On each of the four instruments they play stretched out tones that sound out beyond their decay. It's almost classical music, along the lines of Arvo Part or Morton Feldman, but an influence of Pauline Oliveros can also be traced. It's a most powerful recording, even when it doesn't sound noise related. It's a beautiful disc of sustaining sounds, slowly bent music. If your christmas wallet calls for just one of these four new 12k/LINE CDs, I'd say go for this one. It's a most pleasant surprise."