Bon Iver licht album toe


De afgelopen weken gonsde het van de geruchten over '22, A Million', het nieuwe, "bombastische en spannende" album van Bon Iver. In een persconferentie op het Eaux Claires festival heeft Justin Vernon wat tekst en toelichting gegeven over hoe je die weirde songtitels nu eindelijk moet uitspreken en meer.

De persconferentie ging door in het restaurant van het tot op heden ongeopende Oxbow Hotel, Eau Claire's eerste boetiekhotel waarin Vernon investeert. Zevenentwintig journalisten kregen de kans om de verschillende leden van het Bon Iver team uit te horen over het nieuwe album.

Na een luistersessie, ingeleid door Michael Perry, zei Vernon dat de sound van het nieuwe album ontstond door een door BJ Burton gecreëerde drumloop. Die beat deed me iets en we zijn er maar liefst drie jaar aan blijven werken. Iets later lichtte hij de evolutie qua groepsgeluid toe: "I think it’s that thing of wanting to bash things apart a little bit and break through some stuff. And I needed it to sound a little radical to feel good about putting something out in the world. For me, it’s not embarrassing, but the old records are of this kind of sad nature—I was healing myself through that stuff. Being sad about something is okay. And then wallowing in it, circling though the same cycles emotionally just feels boring. For this one, there’s still some dark stuff and whatever, but I think cracking things, making things that are bombastic and exciting and also new, and mashing things together, and explosiveness and shouting more, I think that was the zone. I think shouting. Whispering was maybe the thing before. But this time—[hits his keyboard and makes a loud robot sound]".

Daarnaast praatte Vernon ook over verloren lopen op een eiland aan de Griekse kust. “Trying to find myself and I did not. I felt really poor. And I just heard this chorus in my head, ‘This feeling might be over soon.’” Die zin werd de openingszin van “22 (OVER S∞∞N), de opener van het nieuwe album.

Aandacht ging ook naar samenwerking, iets waar Ryan Olson (Gayngs) hem aan moest herinneren: "After we did the Gayngs album, when Ryan put that whole thing together it was the wildest fun times around a lot of people making music. Around the same time Kanye West asked me to go out to Hawaii and record around a bunch of people. Felt the same. Just a bunch of people sitting around making songs. I think about Ryan and I think about Kanye, and they can show you how to be yourself more. They’re kind and they can tell you that this can be better. See what kind of mayhem you make when everybody’s in a room together. It lengthens you. It makes you stand up taller and improve yourself."

Verder werd duidelijk dat het album opgedragen is aan Richard Buckner en Bernice Johnson Reagon, die de a capella groep Sweet Honey in the Rock oprichtte : "Richard Buckner has 13 albums and every one of them is perfect. Lyrics can be more flowing and more impressionistic. Found myself falling into a land or a dream and suspending disbelief more listening to his lyrics. Sound things out and find out what it means later. Gave me the courage to write like that. With Bernice, I’ve cared about her singing for so long. Hear her voice on the Ken Burns Civil War documentary series. Singing a black spiritual song and being a choir by herself. How she internalized it all and how she got to be all those singers. She was able to change her voice so radically. Mike Patton has nothing on her."

Justin Vernon heeft het overigens gehad met foto's van zichzelf te zien verschijnen: "Really don’t like to see pictures of myself. Like when you listen to Pink Floyd you don’t think about what David Gilmour looks like. Pictures and music go hand in hand. But I am not trying to do that. I don’t really love meeting too many people, because I don’t have time to be their friend.Faces are for friends only. That’s what I think."

Vernon lichtte ook nog een en ander toe over de unieke sound: "I have this friend Francis Starlite [of Francis and the Lights]. Staying at my house for a long time. I saw him doing this thing with this harmony engine. This plug in. Taking a trumpet line and playing it after the fact. I was like “holy cow that is amazing.” Talking to Chris Messina [studio manager at Vernon's April Base studio], my confidant through this entire process. Trying not to get stuck in any ecological toilet bowl. How in the hell could you do that at once at one time? Why you can’t do that exactly is that CPUs don’t have the capacity to do that live as it’s happening. Chris Messina figured it out. We’re calling it “the Messina.

I don’t know why, we made a new musical sound. We made an instrument. Roger Troutman and Messina and Lewis and Francis made an instrument together. Making music as freely as possible."

En er duikt ook een ongecrediteerde Stevie Nicks sample tijdens het nummer “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠.” op: "She requested that we not talk about it in the liner notes. I respected her wishes. Mostly didn’t want to get asked about working together when we didn’t work together. And I totally get that. It’s from my favorite YouTube video of all time. It’s just her warming up in 1981 getting her hair did and singing her song “Wild Heart,” which in my opinion was never properly recorded. There’s this beautiful YouTube of her singing and someone offstage singing harmony. It’s just the best piece of music. That little bit “wild wild wild heart,” that’s that sample. "

En dan die o zo vreemde songtitels waar iedereen over struikelt. Gewoon lezen wat er staat, zegt Vernon : " “29 #Strafford APTS” is pronounced “29 hashtag Strafford apartments.” “666 ʇ” is “666 upside down arrow.” “____45_____” is just “45.”. Zo, daarmee is alweer een mysterie opgelost.

5 september 2016
Philippe De Cleen