By: Darren Saunders
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Released on June 9, 2015 via Independent
Every now and then an album comes along that makes you stop in your tracks and breathe it in. There’s something about it that grabs you and worms its way into the forefront of your mind. Magic Folkgrass, the debut solo album from Bloch Eyot, is one such piece.
Nikolaj’s voice has a light, ethereal quality to it, comparable to Cat Stevens, shimmering over the music, even with the harder songs, like ‘Perfect Time For Leaving’, a song about getting out before anyone can stop you. “Got the wheel in my hand”, but is that the wheel of a car or a boat? It’s whatever you want it to be.
‘Waterfall’ is pure Tom Waits. Early Waits, mind, when he was a crooner, not the latter, barking years. ‘Waterfall’ is a song about regret, it’s the sound of man at the end of the bar, whiskey in hand, overcome by lament. It is strings and piano and sadness. It is beautiful. ‘Do It Again’ is a work song, the sound of a boatyard full of labourers, hammering rivets in time, building a magnificent ship, each man a cog in a massive machine. A musical saw elevates this track to something else.
On the subject of the musical saw; this is an instrument that surfaces several times throughout Magic Folkgrass. Not only does it provide an ethereal sound to the album, but gives some indication to where Nikolaj’s influences lie. His is folk music of the most traditional kind, telling tales of the river around him, using the intruments of the common labourer.
Magic Folkgrass has many facets to it, each of them interesting. With every listen you find another detail, or comprehend another lyric that gives you a pause. Take this how you will, but it has become my default album for bedtime listening, replacing Sun Kil Moon’s Admiral Fell Promises.