Undulating, padded guitars and hints of echoing percussion lull the listener into thinking that this may be another album in the mold of Eno's Music for Films. Nice. Then abruptly the songs take on the seeming structures of rock and pop from his Here Come the Warm Jets period. Yes! But, that was just another feint in a different direction, as the "songs" take on a lovely and spaced-out electronic/trance shape. But, what's this? Raw electric guitar slicing through on “2 Forms of Anger”. Yet, as one would expect from the man who brought African rhythms and song structure to pop music via the Talking Heads and his collaborations with David Byrne and others, it still doesn't sound like traditional Western music. The rhythms are trance-inducing and the melody is almost completely ethereal. Each subsequent track is like an exploratory scouting party, moving forward, and then just when you get comfortable, the...

Midwest "neo-soul" shines at Portland venue What’s the difference between folk music and the sounds that Bon Iver produced at Holocene recently? I pondered that as I reveled in the beautiful soundtrack to an introspective life that the band (whose name is a play off of what Francophiles and others know translates to “good winter”) reproduced. I am not a big fan of the watered-down stuff that passes as folk (the stuff you hear in Starbucks, generally); Justin Vernon’s music captures the human experience as only recording in isolated places - like his father’s Wisconsin hunting cabin - can. But it is music also informed by modern anxieties. Vernon himself refers to his music as “neo-soul”. So, it was no surprise to learn mid-set that Vernon has a punk-pop band called Michael Jordan, as well. Hearing the edge of Bon Iver’s music emphasized in their live set reminded me of when I saw...

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