Jakob Olausson: “Morning and Sunrise” Review
Five years ago an unknown sugar beet farmer from Landskrona, Sweden came out of nowhere with a hauntingly beautiful collection of unorthodox acid folk songs. The collection, Moonlight Farm, still sounds quite unlike just about anything else that has came before or since. Well, perhaps until now. Olausson releases his follow up effort Morning & Sunrise tomorrow, once again on local private label DeStijl.
While some elements of Olausson’s idiosyncratic style carry over from his last effort, the new record also carries some distinctly different sounds. For one thing Moonlight’s wide-ranging multi-instrumental weirdness seems to have been slightly buttoned down the second time around in favor of more consistently guitar based acid folk. The previous record wasn’t exactly a fancy-free lark, but if anything, somehow the new album has also one upped it in terms of somber melancholy.
But even at its saddest (“Don’t Drown in Sorrows” and “Keep the Sky from Falling Down”) somehow Olausson manages to exude a warmth that, if not cheerful, is quite intimate. That warmth becomes more apparent wherever Olausson employs bits of melody to balance out his often atonal vocals. Gently wobbling guitar patterns over stuttering drums gives “Riding on the Wind” a gently messy beauty. “Neptune”s eastern-sounding classical picking and quiet organ brings in an exotic flair to the psychedelic ramble. “Engraved Invitation” even sounds as it might have been originally been a syrupy love song – though perhaps one as heard on a warped record being played in a different room.
As before, Olausson’s decidedly low-fi recording style gives every tune on Morning & Sunrise a fuzzy, highly personal sound. Often the more clear and polished a record sounds the more distance it creates – as if records “obviously meant to be heard” are somehow less genuine. Perhaps because the face we put on for others isn’t always the face we really see in the mirror. Olausson’s tunes have the opposite effect. The rough beauty and raw immediacy of his sound gives off the effect of eavesdropping, of listening in words that are meant only to be heard by their speaker. Of course Morning & Sunrise is meant to be heard – and heard it should be. Olausson has offered up his intimately elegant constructions to the world at large and it would be a true pity if more people didn’t hear them.
— Jon Behm
You can order a copy of Morning & Sunrise from DeStij Records