Early next week Bon Iver will release the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago. Following on from the success of his debut, it’s clear to see that this self-titled follow up is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Already today, Alec has written about Bon Iver’s exciting approach to genre in an excellent piece which you can read here, and I couldn’t help but notice that Bobby had clocked up quite a few Bon Iver listens on his weekly Last.fm chart too. I think I also might have a touch of ‘Bon Iver Fever’ and so I thought I’d chip in my two cents and share with you a stream of the new album as well as draw your attention to the amazing work of Gregory Euclide which adorns the album’s cover.
First-things-first, the album sounds pretty amazing! Opener Perth is a stellar track, featuring full on marching band drums and a proper big band sound. The album swoons and sores at all the right moments and brings in brass at the most wonderful of times. Vernon still manages to hold on to the tenderness in his vocals and displays a delicate intimacy from time to time which I can imagine will clearly satisfy those who had loved his first album so much. This is an album for the headphones no doubt, and it’s a recording that sounds complex, organic and conjures up images of far off landscapes. It’s for this reason that Gregory Euclide’s work is the perfect companion to the albums sound.
Euclide is a Minneapolis-based artist who creates incredibly detailed and unconventional landscapes which are part-painting and part-sculpture. Relief work plays a huge role in his practice and sometimes whole elements of the canvas will be ripped open and twisted out of shape to reveal deeper landscapes. His work often warps in on itself and his use of living matter can at times be seen slowly decaying right on the surface of his paintings. Euclide’s work is about landscape, and so he captures much of what makes nature so wonderful – it’s delicate intricacies and it’s aggressive and destructive changeability. Euclide also has a great website, with links to some amazing documentation showing his work progress that includes many photos and videos of how his work is created. For those who are interested, there’s a terrific set over on Flickr which shows the process of creating the album work for the new Bon Iver LP. It’s well worth checking out.