Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: Volcano Choir - Unmap (* * 1/2)

Whatever your opinion of his music, you have to admire Justin Vernon, a man determined to push boundaries. When his former band, DeYarmond Edison, fell apart several years ago, Vernon removed himself from society and retreated to the woods of Wisconsin, where with some basic recording equipment, guitars, and very little else he managed to create one of the best albums of 2007 (or 2008 if you count the re-release) and the finest work of his career as Bon Iver. And people noticed – the singer/songwriter, who had before kept an extremely low profile, would suddenly find himself in the indie spotlight amid heaps of critical and popular praise. Not one to simply sit around and bask in his newfound fame, Vernon followed For Emma, Forever Ago with this year’s Blood Bank EP, an experimental four-song set that showed him branching out from his unique brand of melancholy folk in seemingly counterintuitive ways, including an auto-tuned, a capella track (“Woods”) that saw a fairly mixed reception from fans. And now we get Unmap, Vernon’s full-length collaboration with experimental group Collections of Colonies of Bees and another clear indication that he has little inclination to repeat success with a proven formula. (Continue Reading...)