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Part of the beauty of Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, was the intimate, backwoods feel of the recording and the simplicity of Justin Vernon's soaring, open wound of a voice with only minimal musical backing to distract from its impact. After a couple years in which his life was turned upside down thanks to the success of For Emma, Vernon's second album is quite different. Where For Emma was stripped down and intimate, Bon Iver is packed with guest musicians, horn sections, strings, and extra vocalists. Within the expanded arrangements, there are still moments of tender beauty: the relatively restrained "Wash.," which pits Vernon's aching vocal orchestra against a jagged, repeating piano line (and only minimal strings and pedal steel); the first two-thirds of "Holocene," and the simple and affecting "Michicant."
Performance CreditsBon Iver Primary Artist
Greg Leisz Pedal Steel Guitar
Mike Lewis Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Colin Stetson Clarinet,Flute,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Bass Saxophone
Rob Moose Violin,Viola
Sean Carey Drums,Voices,Choir, Chorus,Vibes,Bowed Vibes
Daniel Murphy Handwriting
Justin Vernon Synthesizer,Banjo,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Cymbals,Drums,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Voices,Choir, Chorus,Ebo,finger cymbals,Tremolo,Korg M1,Guitar (Nylon String),Guitar (Baritone)
Matt McCaughan Synthesizer,Drums,Hand Clapping,Snare Drums,Brushes
Carmen Camerieri Trumpet,French Horn,Muted Trumpet,Piccolo Trumpet
Tom Winceck Synthesizer
Mikey Noyce Voices
Jim Shoenecker Synthesizer
Technical CreditsBrian Joseph Engineer
Gregory Lee Euclide Paintings
Rob Moose Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Daniel Murphy Layout
Justin Vernon Composer,Producer,Engineer,Hands
Matt McCaughan Composer
Nate Vernon Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Such a beautiful album. So incredibly serene. Would definitely recommend, not only this album but all of Vernon's works.
The sophomore effort from Justin Vernon is a stunner. I absolutely love his vocal style and it is still the lead "instrument" in this recording. Listening to this on headphones is an incredible experience as well, I hear something new with each listen. Obligatory comparisons would evoke the varied likes of Wilco, Sigur Ros, Jeff Buckley, Arcade Fire and yes even ELO. The only downside I see in this album is the very last track "Beth/Rest". It is a fine track on it's own but, to me, it does not fit in with the rest of the album at all. The first 2 tracks "Perth" and "Minnesota, WI" more than make up for this minor "flaw"