Album Review: Joan As Police Woman – The Solution Is Restless


Album Review: Joan As Police Woman - The Solution Is Restless

A solid addition to Wasser’s discography and a fitting farewell to a legendary Afrobeat drummer

The last seconds of “Perfect Shade Of Blue”, the penultimate track of Joan Wasser’s latest release (AKA Joan As Police Woman), The solution is stirred, include a poignant studio joke – “I’m so glad we organized this as a weekly thing and will see you next week at the same time,” Wasser told contributors featured on each of the 10 tracks in the show. ‘album, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and Dave Okumu from The Invisible. “This is great news.”

It’s such a haunting inclusion because Allen (“possibly the greatest drummer who ever lived,” according to Brian Eno) died of an aneurysm shortly after those recording sessions took place. Hearing him laugh as Wasser revel in his company, anticipating more sessions to come, reminds us that, not to be too mundane here, life is fragile and can be torn from us at any time.

But it’s telling that this recall comes with a palpable sense of jubilation on the part of everyone in the studio. The solution is stirred does not dwell on death, although it is remembered every time Allen hits his drums – on the contrary, the album remains strictly festive.

The solution is stirred is a dense and gelatinous mix of funk, jazz, soul and dub. The artists’ intentions are immediately made clear with the opening track, “The Barbarian”, which lasts nearly 12 minutes. Meshell Ndegeocello delivers a juicy and hypnotic bassline while Moog synths, courtesy of Aviram Barath, create a vast sense of space even deeper through Wasser’s smoky vocals, making it one of the most dub of the whole project.

Wasser, Allen and Okumu fit in remarkably well on every track. Allen’s nimble drums mesh with Okumu’s buttery bassline on “Take Me To Your Leader” to establish a muscular foundation for Wasser’s upbeat chromatic synth solo. The trio seem to be having limitless fun on this particular track, which culminates in one of the stickiest choruses in the entire project, sounding straight out of a ’70s funk record with their vocals. multi-layered (creating a vocal group effect) and rich strings.

But the loudest track by far is the single “Geometry Of You”, a syrupy, gyrating slice of sexed funk, with reverb drops, horns, guitar hits and licks in and out of the room. cavernous space Wasser and co. bring up (sort of like dub again). The title of the album comes from a word found on this track: “Because I formulate the lines / Make assumptions / Create assumptions / When the solution is agitated.” In Wasser’s own words, she ruminates on “the numerical perfection of numbers and geometry applied to a person’s body, heart and mind.” It’s funny that these lyrics are so awkward, so Apollonian because the music itself is purely carnal Dionysian, actualized in Okumu’s wobbly bassline and Wasser’s lascivious coo.

The solution is stirred is an intoxicating, sultry and at times vital collaboration and the fact that it was completed before Allen’s sudden death is a miracle. With his mastery of genres, songs and frequent improvisational feats, this record is not only another solid addition to Wasser’s discography, it is also a great start for the legendary drummer. The only downside to a project like this is knowing that there isn’t more to come.


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