Kolonien’s New LP Stands Out In This Year’s Growing “Forest” Of World Music Albums

Courtesy: Cumbancha

More than seven years after the release of its then latest album, Drommarnas Land, the World Music collective known as Kolonien will release its follow-up in the form of Till Skogen. Roughly translated, the title means To The Forest. The 14-song record is a welcome addition to this year’s field of new World Music albums. That is due to its musical and lyrical content alike. The album’s title track, which comes late in its run does well to support the noted statement. It will be discussed shortly. Also of note to the album is one of its instrumental tracks, ‘Springen.’ That song will be examined a little later. Just as much of note is the song, ‘Alla Andra,’ which comes early in the album’s run. When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Till Skogen a welcome addition to this year’s field of new World Music albums.

Till Skogen, the latest album from World Music collective Kolonien, is an interesting presentation that audiences will find well worth hearing. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike. The album’s title track, which comes late in its run, makes that clear. The song’s musical arrangement is a gentle, flowing work whose four-part harmony is such a simple presentation yet makes for such depth. The subtle use of the strings as a support element adds even more to the song, especially as it and the equally subtle electronics build as the song progresses. There is almost a Gregorian chant approach in the minimalist approach here that really is at the heart of it all. When this is considered along with the minimalist instrumentation, the whole makes this composition so powerful. It proves the old adage that less really is more.

Adding to the song’s interest is that while the song’s arrangement is upbeat in the mood that it sets, that positive mood is in direct contrast to the song’s lyrical theme. The lyrical theme delivers an ecologically-minded message about deforestation. As is pointed out in the liner notes by group member Mischa Grind, the song was inspired by world leaders’ general lack of reaction to proven science about humans’ impact on climate change. The song reads here, “It’s snowing ashes/On the Earth/Without a season of winter/It’s snowing ashes on the Earth/But no one sees it/How hard can it be to understand/It must be trees that are burning/Otherwise we wouldn’t have to see/Flying ashes in the air turning/But what should we say to our children/When they wonder?” The message here conjures thoughts of the message in the late great Michael Jackson’s timeless song, ‘What About Us?’ In the case of that song, Jackson sang of not only deforestation, but the impact of global warfare and poaching, as well as so much more. For the group to take on a topic that so few other acts have tackled and done so in such blunt fashion makes the message hit even harder. Going back to the contrast between the almost cynical message and the slightly more positive mood in the song’s arrangement, and the song gains even more interest. It is just one of the songs that stands out in the record’s body. The fully instrumental ‘Stringen’ is another notable addition to the record.

‘Stringen’ clocks in at approximately three minutes. In that relatively standard run time, the simple arrangement makes itself appealing to any neo-folk fan. The use of the guitars and strings immediately lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Mumford & Sons and Delta Rae. That should come as no surprise considering that, according to information provided about the group and its new album, it started as a group heavily inspired by Bob Dylan. Even with the comparison in mind, the song still it still boasts its own identity separate from the works of said acts. To that end, it also plays well into the album’s overall presentation.

Even as much as ‘Stringen’ does to make Till Skogen enjoyable, it is just one more of the record’s most notable tracks. ‘Alla Andra,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is yet another welcome addition to the presentation. This song’s arrangement is another neo-folk composition, and also holds its own identity. The overall feel here is, honestly semi-beachy, even with the neo-folk leaning there. If any comparison had to be made, it would be to works from Jack Johnson, as well as (believe it or not) Dave Matthews Band. It really is a unique presentation that deserves to be heard (and must be heard in order to be fully understood and appreciated). The light, bouncy approach here gains even more interest when it is considered alongside the song’s lyrical theme.

The lyrical theme here is pretty deep, but presented in a way that makes it surprisingly accessible. It is that of unity and finding one’s place in the world. That is this critic’s interpretation. The inference is made as the song notes, “Like all the others/You stood on the edge/Like all others/You fell down/Like all the others/Doubtful and dreaming/Like all others.You want more/The lights they flicker distantly/My heart is like a stone in my empty hands/Are you seeking/Just as I am/Fumbling in the darkness outside?/Like all the others/Fight or flight/Like all others/A lone island/Like all the others/You could sink to the bottom/Like all others/Want to escape.” Again, this certainly comes across as the noted theme, discussing someone who is uncertain of his/her place. If in fact that is the case, then the theme will definitely resonate with a wide range of audiences. To that end, when the seeming lyrical theme is considered alongside the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes this song yet another standout addition to the album. When the song is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the album overall gains even more strength and becomes one more of the year’s top new World Music offerings.

Till Skogen, the latest album from World Music collective Kolonien, is an interesting new offering from the group. It is a presentation that World Music fans and neo-folk fans alike will appreciate. That is proven through the album’s musical and lyrical content alike. The songs examined here do well to make that clear. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the overall album proves itself to be among the year’s top new World Music albums so far.

Till Skogen is scheduled for release Friday through Cumbancha. More information on the album is available along with all of Kolonien’s latest news at:

Website: https://kolonien.nu

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kolonien

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