JOAN Wasser likes to push the music envelope. One of her latest projects, for example, is to explore the nuances of Central Africa’s pygmy flute singing, a collaboration she has spent six months working on with her friend, composer Benjamin Lazar Davis.
It does seem Joan as Police Woman (Joan Wasser to her mates) is quite the restless music fan. Last in Australia in 2011, she’s followed up that year’s acclaimed The Deep Field album with an aptly
titled project she dubbed The Classic – one of her most strident, confident and well-rounded projects to date.
Listening to the record, we know that her tastes are extensive. Her back catalogue bears this out, too. In 2009, she released a covers album – Covers – that ranged wildly from the Jimi Hendrix Experience to T-Pain, from Adam and the Ants to Sonic Youth with Britney Spears, Iggy Pop, Public Enemy and Nina Simone thrown in for good measure.
“That’s cool. I think that I really just felt myself seeing if I could create a little bit more of a pop song, for want of a better word. From the very beginning of writing songs I kept trying to figure out how to make it simpler [and] for many of my songs I did a very bad job,” she says.