Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago

This name is actually the band of songwriter Justin Vernon (Bon Iver a misspelling of the French words ‘bon hiver’ meaning “good winter”). Released in 2008 by Jagjaguwar / 4AD and recommended by a good friend, I must admit to being a bit, shall we say, hesitant to liking it at the beginning. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything quite like this (The Sea & Cake is perhaps in the neighborhood?) and I must admit that I’m always a bit reluctant to like any falsetto singer (although Neil Young has made a pretty good career with just such). This guys voice is up there in the rafters. I didn’t give up though and I’d recommend the same for you if this record is a bit off-putting at first. Repeated listening will reward you with a compellingly rich and sophisticated journey into the mind and heart of M. Vernon.
Layered voices and textures yet there is no plastic in the recordings. Funky warts, “mistakes” and always homespun, this acoustically oriented CD is painted in some of the Northwood colors where it was recorded. Silence (in other words, what is NOT played) I think figures prominently in the songs. The fact that it “…was recorded in the hunting cabin, northwestern Wisconsin November, December, January 2006, 2007” (copied from the CD liner notes) is remarkable. I love how “imperfect” this CD is and it’s absolutely the antithesis of all commercial radio fare (and for that matter in the majority of most singer/songwriter ‘every note matters’ blah-blah CD’s) the world over. This record really ‘works’ from beginning to end. And if you like your music challenging and would like to hear something ‘fresh’ then I say take a chance and buy this CD (recorded by Justin Vernon and mastered by Nick Peterson).
Actually I’m still not sure if I like the guys voice but I love For Emma, Forever Ago. Go figure…

Bookerfatz 2
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Bon Iver - Skinny Love .mp3

Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe .mp3
The Sea And Cake - Everyday .mp3

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