JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN (US) 

Field | Friday, August 3rd 

Born in 1970, Wasser grew up with her adoptive family in Connecticut before decamping to Brooklyn to join the music scene. Having studied the violin at university and played in orchestra, favouring new classical compositions written for smaller ensembles, by the time she reached New York in 1994 she’d already been performing with art/punk bands, experimenting with how far she could stretch the parameters of the violin. She began working as a session musician and working with Anohni (Antony and the Johnsons) and Rufus Wainwright. Along the way, in 2002, Joan As Police Woman was born, named in homage to the 1970s TV cop show starring Angie Dickinson. Previous albums have won awards and accolades, such as the Best Rock and Pop Album in the Independent Music Awards (Real Life) or one of Q Magazine’s Albums of the Year (To Survive). Damned Devotion is her fifth album in the JAPW incarnation, in addition to an album of covers (Cover) and the 2016 collaboration with Benjamin Lazar Davis (Let It Be You). There are, of course, the well-documented dark times that have informed the melancholy; the death of her boyfriend Jeff Buckley in 1997; the suicide of her friend Elliot Smith in 2003; her mother’s death four years later. Music, it has been suggested, is the medicine that has carried her through difficult times. Certainly, the gap between The Classic and Damned Devotion has not included much downtime, echoing previous periods of collaboration with artists as diverse as Lou Reed, Beck, Toshi Reagon, David Sylvian, Sparklehorse, Laurie Anderson and Damon Albarn. This time around, she’s worked with Sufjan Stevens, John Cale, Aldous Harding, Woodkid, Justin Vivian Bond, RZA, Norah Jones and Daniel Johnston.Within her peer group, she’s universally admired. And it’s that, along with her enormous musical vocabulary, melodic beauty and the fact she continues to surprise, which cements Joan As Police Woman as an important artist, collaborator and muse. “Today”, she discloses, “I can comfortably say that music has saved my life and continues to save my life. I am a devotee. It’s not something I can even choose or not choose, it’s just what is.” …Damned Devotion