Artist of the week: Bon Iver

Artist of the week on Musikki – Bon Iver

Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded in 2007 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. But the truth is that, if you’re reading this, chances are you already know it. Other things you might know: that he recorded his debut, For Emma, Forever Ago (2007), in complete isolation in a remote Wisconsin cabin, spawning one of the most harrowing collection of intimate folk songs ever recorded; that his grandiose sophomore effort, Bon Iver, Bon Iver (2011), became one of the most revered indie albums of the millennium (and granted him two surprising Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best New Alternative Album); and that he spent the last decade or so collaborating with Kanye West and recording songs for the super-group Gayngs.

What you might also know is that Bon Iver is a man who likes to take his time to release each record and that he tends to pretty much reinvent himself from scratch. The new 22, A Million is no exception – this time we get an extremely intricate and experimental collection of songs (and visuals) with chopped lyrics, fractured bits of sound, treated instruments, altered vocals and chaotic samples. There is still, of course, his voice and the occasional strum of an acoustic guitar, but this is by far the most challenging record he recorded yet. Anyway: don’t be fooled by its sense of pomposity or grandeur (definitely a Kanye’s influence): behind all this bravado, repeated listens never fail to reveal layers and layers and more layers of what seems to be infinite beauty.

João Pedro da Costa

João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.