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Tunes

Best tunes of 2012: #13 The Tallest Man on Earth “1904”

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“There’s no leaving now”, Kristian Mattson’s third solo album as The Tallest Man on Earth, was my introduction to his music and though I fell deeply in love with its gentle beauty, much as I did his following three albums, I still have yet to explore his first two records. Perhaps it’s a needless worry that his songwriting might not stand up to what I’ve heard is a more bare-bones sound – just him and his guitar – that has kept me from them. I’m sure I’ll get to them eventually and when I do, I’m sure that I’ll love them just as I do the rest of his tunes.

How can I not?

Just listen to our song today, “1904”, with its loving strum and cascading guitar flourishes, and let the wistful joy wash over you. Kristian is channelling Dylan and Drake and Guthrie, jamming with friends by candlelight, seated on sofa cushions pulled from their normal spots and transferred to the scuffed up hardwood of a high-ceilinged Victorian home. He is singing about an earth shattering and earth shaking moment, some have pointed to an earthquake that occurred in his part of the world in the year referenced in the song’s title, but you get the feeling as the song pulls you in, that the actual event doesn’t matter. It’s how you allow it to affect you, how you learn from it, and how you carry on afterwards that really matters.

“And the singing is slow and so quiet
Like the sound when you sweep off the floor
And now something with the dirt is just different
Since they shook the earth in 1904”

I remember when I first heard this song and the album on which it appears and could not believe what I was hearing. Perfect folk, out of time and out of place. Much like Swedish compatriots First Aid Kit, home informs his sensibilities, just as much as his love for those that influenced his sound. It is all so obvious and so passionate and so easy to get caught up in and pulled along in its wake. He has said that in writing this album, he wanted a brittle sound, one that gives a “feeling that it might just fall apart” at any moment. And he’s definitely achieved this precariousness, a moment in perfection that we all know can’t last forever.

But luckily for us, we can simply replay the track and live it all over again.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: The Tallest Man on Earth “I love you. It’s a fever dream.”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The Tallest Man on Earth
Album Title: I love you. It’s a fever dream.
Year released: 2019
Details: Limited edition, Green translucent, Gatefold

The skinny: Much like Piroshka’s “Brickbat”, an album I posted for this series just over a week ago, The Tallest Man on Earth’s latest didn’t quite make my top ten favourite albums when I finalized my list but it bore mentioning nonetheless and I snuck it in the banner photo at the top of that introductory post. Funny thing about this record, though, is that its purchase was almost by accident. Indeed, I was at one of my local record shops just before this year’s Bluesfest, looking for the latest album by Colter Wall, so that I could properly prepare for his set at the festival, and I saw this copy of “I love you. It’s a fever dream.” sitting on the shelf. I had almost forgotten that the Swedish indie folk singer/songwriter was releasing his fifth album this year but when I saw it, I remembered his own set at Bluesfest from a few years before and knew I had to buy it. It’s plenty more excellently written tunes, sown from much the same plot as his previous two albums, but the sound just never seems to get old. And just check out that colour! It reminds of the old glow-in-the-dark frisbees, so much cool that I had to post an extra photo of it.

Standout track: “What I’ve been kicking around”