Thursday, April 18, 2024

Complete Mountain Almanac scale new heights

Born from a desire to put to music the plight of the planet due to climate change, Norwegian-based singer and composer Rebekka Karijord began to compose twelve distinct pieces based on the months of the year to illustrate the cycle of nature in all its wonder and complexity. To help build her vision, Rebekka asked the American dancer and multimedia artist Jessica Dessner to join her to create the project’s artwork… however, shortly after beginning this work, Jessica was diagnosed with breast cancer. To help her through the recovery, she wrote a book of poetry which was entitled Complete Mountain Almanac. Rebekka recognised those poems could and should form the lyrical insight, as well as the title, to realise their vision… the fact that Rebekka’s brothers just happened to be Aaron and Bryce Dessner of US ‘indie-rock’ band, The National, added the experienced instrumentation to make it a reality.

Unsurprisingly, there are twelve tracks named after each month: using folk, rock, classical, chamber music and a few other styles, they have created a fascinating take on the changing seasons, reflecting on the sadness of how we are treating our home and yet communicating hope and joy. ‘January’ is a perfect example as, paradoxically, the warm acoustic guitars conjure the bleakness of the first month (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway.) The vocals range across the guitars echoing the early signs of nature’s awakening. ‘March’ employs subtle electric guitar as Rebekka brings a touch of the ethereal a la Enya, to the harmonies. ‘May’ is accompanied by a video that illustrates further the tenuous hold mankind has as Rebekka states: “The greatest mysteries are not material,” and the instrumentation combines overlaid acoustics that seems folky at first but approach mediaeval too. ‘December’ closes with a sort of end-of-year review over classical sounding acoustic guitar.

This isn’t rock by any measurement: instead, it is a ‘laid back’ yet dramatic and enthralling body of work. As an out-and-out blues and rock lover, it isn’t something I would listen to in one sitting but – when the mood is right – it has much to offer. If you like folk/classical guitar/chamber music, you need to hear this.

Complete Mountain Almanac is out on 27th January

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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Born from a desire to put to music the plight of the planet due to climate change, Norwegian-based singer and composer Rebekka Karijord began to compose twelve distinct pieces based on the months of the year to illustrate the cycle of nature in all its wonder...Complete Mountain Almanac scale new heights