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jakob olausson - Moonlight Farm
Brace yourselves gang, this one's a real keeper. Sweden's Jakob Olausson has achieved that rarest of things: he's made a dusty-sounding psych-folk album based not on the experimental whimsy that's so pervasive in the genre but instead, a set of genuinely classic-sounding songs. 'Welcome Traveller' is a real stunner. For a start it sounds like it could have been made at any time in the last fifty years or so, with its timelessly smudgy recording and old-school folksy songwriting, all shakily poised within a framework of lulling woodwind and erratic percussion. Think Leonard Cohen taking on Sabbath's 'Planet Caravan' and you're about right. Another magical piece of music is 'The Wind Combs Her Hair' which is a rare example of a multitude of instruments coming together in a psych-fuelled mush whilst retaining a melodic discipline. This really isn't one of those albums you can justifiably pick highlights from: the whole thing is unrelentingly marvellous and should be investigated without further ado. Listening to "Moonlight Farm" is not unlike discovering those very early recordings by Devendra Banhart where great songwriting shines through all the dirt and the low-grade recording setup, except here Olausson manages to use that lo-fi approach to his great advantage, making something which sounds as though it's gone far beyond the confines of bedroom recording. Perhaps a more fitting comparison would be to Matt Valentine and Wooden Wand, with whom Olausson clearly shares a very spiritual connection to archaic song craft. So very, very awesome.