Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If you're in two minds about Bon Iver on Thursday...

....try this. Here are some excerpts from an article written by Laura Barton in The Guardian back in Feb 2008. As soon as I'd read this I ordered the album. I wasn't disapointed.

"If we have spoken in the past couple of weeks, I apologise. If you have poured out your heart and found me blank-faced, if you have asked me whether you should wear the red or the blue, or if I want-milk-with-that and I have appeared distracted, let me say that I am sorry. My mind has been elsewhere. For the past fortnight, every moment not spent listening to the Bon Iver record, For Emma, Forever Ago, has seemed wasted.

In my defence, this is a truly astonishing album. It was recorded last winter, in a hunting cabin in northwestern Wisconsin to which Justin Vernon (who is Bon Iver) retreated alone for three months following the break up of both his band and his relationship. Eighty acres. Forty miles from anywhere. He chopped wood, hunted deer, and unexpectedly found himself writing songs.

It is only nine tracks long. A little over 30 minutes. A sapling. Vernon sings in an icy falsetto, the sound of winter sky and bare branches. He sings of his inhospitable surroundings, of snow and stone and crows and cold moons, interspersing these images with a few warm memories of blouses and blood and brassières. It is an album that starts by watching "gluey feathers on a flume", that, in Skinny Love, firmly grasps the nettle of a relationship: "I'll be holding all the tickets," he sings, voice turned thorny and rough, "and you'll be owning all the fines." And it ends in a song named Re: Stacks, closing with the lines: "This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realisation/ It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away/ Your love will be/ Safe with me."

I first played it sitting at my desk. The room stood still and my breath disappeared. Since then, I have listened to it endlessly, over and over, on buses and trains, late night and early mornings, sitting at my kitchen table, running to the corner shop, stopped, dumbstruck, beneath the office strip lights looking out over the rooftops of Farringdon. It is an album that envelops you in a profound sense of loss and isolation and stillness.

There are times when an album, for the want of a hunting cabin in Wisconsin, can offer a retreat; somewhere to hide away and muddle things through. It is quite different to falling in love with a record, the feeling is less exuberant, more cathartic. You do not so much want to shout your passion for this music from the rooftops, as long to quietly fold around it."

Apologies for nicking this off another website, but I couldn't have put it better myself.

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