Sunday, 4 December 2011

2011 Album of the year...


The idyllic magic found by Justin Vernon in the remote countryside of Wisconsin in 2007 used to produce his celebrated debut record “For Emma, Forever Ago” will forever follow him throughout his musical career. There is an undeniable fascination with the archaic idea of heartbroken musician retreating to a cabin in his hometown after the break up of not only his relationship but his band, to write a few songs.

The prospect of creating a record worthy of following this debut would be daunting for anyone, yet Vernon somehow manages to prove that he is not a one trick pony in the electronified and deeply emotive self titled “Bon Iver“, the masterpiece of 2011.

The record logically progresses from 2007 to 2011, taking in Vernon’s new musical discoveries and experiences whilst keeping some of “For Emma’s” rustic folk soul elements. “Bon Iver” has an expansive sonic sound and also beautiful, flowing suite like arrangements. The predominant use of auto-tune and some R&B touches in the record was derived from the, “Lost in the World” single with Kayne West on the “Blood Bank” LP in 2009 and the baroque feel to particular tracks harkens to Vernon’s Gayngs side project. The album takes a new direction without destroying the initial emotive appeal of the debut record.

The LP opens strongly with “Perth’s” prestigious military drumming and flows saturating the percussive beats with guitar riffs and horns. The use of auto tune enhances Vernon’s falsetto voice and emphasizes the emotive escapism of the record rather than perfecting the vocals. “Holocene” stuns with it’s beautiful lyrics provoking a mealy of emotions which are gently settled with the comforting line, “I could see for miles, miles, miles.” This is contrasted by tracks such as “Minnesota, WI” which blends natural acoustics with edgy electronic elements and R&B influences in the funky bass line and Colin Stetson’s saxophone and horn accompaniments.

Though the song titles are named after both real and imaginary towns, this is not about geography and more about putting a name to a feeling or state of mind.

All in all, ‘Bon Iver’ is one of the most absorbing, poignant, mature and brave albums of 2011. It never becomes tiring, with every repeat another beautiful layer of music is uncovered.

P.S sorry there was no blog post yesterday I had an interview and gig to review and, therefore, ran out of time. I will post a second blog later today

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