Great new music… Big Red Machine


Most Justin Vernon fans will already know about his latest side project, Big Red Machine. But for those not yet aware of his latest venture, his latest incarnation sees him teaming up with The National‘s Aaron Dessner, alongside a host of other names dotted across the album, including This Is the Kit, Phoebe Bridgers and members of Arcade Fire and The Staves.

Echoes of both of Bon Iver‘s last two albums can be heard across Big Red Machine. Bon Iver‘s penchant for soaring harmonies and heartfelt digital soul appear most prominently on tracks like, Hymnostic and I Wont Run From It, which could both easily be off-cuts from 2011’s Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

The sonic experimentation of last year’s 22, A Million is even more prominent. Tracks like Lyla, Gratitude and Forest Green, all follow vaguely similar paths, pulling in shuffling, arrhythmic drum beats, gently swelling synths and mellow vocals. All three tracks clock in at just under six minutes each and whilst the album has a hazy, sprawling feel to it, it never seems overly indulgent – although, OMDB, with it’s gurgling Vernon vocals and shuffling nowhere rhythms, does test the patience a bit.

The album’s at it’s best when it’s find’s just the right balance between the fascinating sonic experimentation of 22, A Million, and the heartfelt melodicism of Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Fourth track, Air Stryp, is stunning. Some of the beats have an almost Aphex Twin-esque feel to them and Vernon‘s voice whispers and growls perfectly.

The new album also marks the start of a new project headed up by Vernon and Dessner called People. It’s based on musical collaboration and Dessner describes it as, “a large collective and community of artists that’s been collaborating for a long time — which is a way to sort of work together and publish music that’s sort of outside of the traditional marketing bottleneck. Big Red Machine is really a community effort: I guess it involves almost 30 musicians. It does come out of our friendship, but it’s really something that is deeply collaborative.”

Big Red Machine‘s eponymous debut album is available to buy and stream now.

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