Sø I guess I enjoy følk music?
What I've been hoping to do so far is listen to quite different things each week. The list of albums that I've gathered from friends and the wide world of the internet has given me lots of scope to do just that. This week I've moved into the world of folk music, something that I've sort of skirted around in my musical past, the closest I've gotten was a couple of Damien Rice albums and (if you can really call it folk) early Sufjan Stevens.
Music For People In Trouble by Susanne Sundfør has been my soundtrack this week, and while I've heard Susanne's name before I'd never listened to any of her music. A quick read on the internet tells me that she's been folk, gone through some electronica and has arrived back to folk (by way of a little country?) on this her latest album which was released last year. The bulk of the album is guitar, piano and some background synth work which adds up to a simple and clean sounding album.
One of the most surprising things I found is that some of the songs do ride the line between folk and country music...which may seem odd from a Norwegian artist. Country is something I've always sort of stayed away from, but the earnest delivery and the fact that Susanne never strays completely into Country melodrama makes this a very easy listen in my book. Reincarnation is the most obvious example of country influences on the album with some beautifully done slide guitar backing up her vocals.
Another surprising little gem I loved was the almost Jazz breakdown at the end of track Good Luck Bad Luck. It was a totally unexpected turn but one that doesn't break the coherence of the album.
Susanne's voice is pretty interesting, with a delivery and tone which reminds me of a blend of Björk's melodic weirdness and Sia's textured belting. I think one of the more interesting songs vocally is The Sound Of War which shows off some really weird pronunciation and tonal shifts. The song actually ends mimicking the sound of drones flying overhead....but don't forget this is totally folk music so it's presented as a growing hum set perfectly amidst some nice reverb and muffled synths.
Last week we were blanketed in snow, which was beautiful but also a pain in the ass when you have to rely on London's public transport to get from A to B. This week Spring has sprung in all it's grey damp glory. London is an interesting place in Spring, tarmac filled with puddles and gusts of wind that can take you by surprise and chill you to the bone. I think this is a really great album for that time. The male spoken word opening to the song Music For People In Trouble sums it up perfectly,
A friend this week asked me what would happen if I listened to something that I ended up not enjoying, the worry of someone suggesting music that has a personal connection to them only to have it not illicit the same reaction in me. It's an interesting thought, musical taste is so individual and if someone doesn't find the same joy in it could be disappointing. God knows I've tried to introduce people to music that I love only to find that it isn't for everyone. Luckily I haven't come across anything that I've actively not enjoyed, but who knows how I'll react if I do. I've committed to listening to a spread of things that I wouldn't normally and I like to be challenged.
This week is a great week because I've discovered an artist who I'd never heard before and who I'd want to find out more about. The fact that Music For People In Trouble is her 5th album and she's gone through a number of musical styles during her previous 4 is exciting as there'll be plenty to discover. I look forward to discovering more, although with the Album A Week project going who knows when I'll get the chance to!