Continuing with the Grammy theme, another big winner that I haven’t tuned into yet is Bon Iver. I saw their performance on SNL and was completely floored by the two songs, so it was really no surprise to me that they won two awards on Sunday night. This is an album I know I needed to have a listen to, so their self titled disc from 2011 is going to be the post of the night!
Perth explodes into your ear drums right off the bat and you know this is going to be something different. The vocals are soft and graceful with a higher pitch than most. There are so many instruments molding together, taking good use of their relationships, but shining on their own. There’s really great drum action happening all through the song, leaving an edge to the quiet vocals.
Relaxing, mesmerizing, entrancing. I wrote these words down while I was listening to Holocene for the first time. Usually, when I feel upset or angry, I tend to listen to angrier, harder music, but Bon Iver is so calming that you almost feel as though you’re just laid back, floating on water and clouds. I’m sure this would calm down even the angriest of humans.
Since I don’t know that much about this band, a good Google search was in order. Apparently their band name is derived from the French phrase meaning “good winter” or “have a good winter.” That seems fitting considering the tone of the music. The entire album feels like I could just get lost. It feels almost starkly quiet – like I would envision a scene of snow in a forest that wasn’t touched by human life. For those of you who don’t know, I write this as I’m listening so I can have a more honest reflection on the album. I got so lost in the album that I forgot to mention a couple of songs.
Wash. is so beautiful that I can’t resist writing about it. Stark piano notes open the song over the fragile vocals. Violins chime in to add to the whimsical mixture of instruments. The stark piano notes continue throughout the whole song, which is interesting juxtaposition wise. Having that pitted against such fair vocals is a dynamic that has to be dealt with carefully or one of the sides could be over powered. Bon Iver pull it off perfectly.
The album wraps up with what is possibly the strongest track on the album, Beth/Rest. The vocals are more up front in this song instead of hanging toward the middle ground. The guitar also makes more of an appearance in this song than in others, along with a saxophone and more piano work.
The instrumentation on this album is really what blew me away. There are so many different sounds that are mixing together to create such truly beautiful music that it’s hard to wrap your head around. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get lost in this album in no time. This is such a perfect album to throw on if you’ve had a long day or a stressful day or a joyous day. No matter your mood, it’ll mellow you out and bring to light some truly gorgeous mixing of musical instruments that will uplift your mood and carry your troubles away.
Wash. (track 7)
Beth/Rest (track 10)
Holocene (track 3)