So grand, so luscious, so precise. So 22 in A Million.
BON IVER 22, A MILLION (Jagjaguwar)
Quite unexpectedly I come to think of Peter Gabriel when listening to Bon Iver’s latest installment. At first it seems not only far-fetched, but a highly unlikely comparison, yet there is something about Justin Vernon’s voice and musical arrangements that resonates with Mr. Gabriel around the period of his So album. 22, A Million holds a same kind of an intensity and tenderness that I came to love about the 30-year old So-album, which I should add, is one of my all time favourite albums.
Bon Iver’s third body of work is rich, dynamic and most of all, moving beyond belief. Rough around the edges, very much thanks to the experimental palett of voices, noises, almost avantgarde like arrangements and electronic instrumentation, but of course, everything is exactly where it should be. Even those unpronounceable titles are there for a reason. Unclear what the reason is though and I push them aside to avoid them becoming an obstacle.
Yet regardless of how you twist and turn with the complex and beautiful landscape being painted here, it would be nothing without these remarkable songs. Haunting, at times deeply chilling, never boring or predictable and although on occasion hidden behind deep, thick layers of auto tuning and sound installations, the compositions come out as winners. Even on an occasional weak spot on these all too short 34 minutes, there’s place for forgiveness, as it comes from and leads to an angelic place where the worlds of gospel, soul, folk and electronic intertwine, and make superb and luscious music for the afterworld.
I think this is the sound of a soul crying. Out of pure joy.