Today we start a new series of posts here on Meadow Music where artists tell stories about other artists that are special to them in some way; influencing them, as sources of inspiration or for some other reason.
First up is Jon Rinneby from Turn Off Your Television, a band that has released both the new album “Humble Waves” and the EP “Wasted Time” this Autumn. Jon also works with music production and runs the studio Sound of Wool.
Jon Rinneby and Sparklehorse
Already after the first song phrase it felt like I had understood it all, and something inside of me broke. How could music sound so torn but at the same time so beautiful? A bizarre world of ideas is painted before me and confirms how elusive reality can be. It was the first time I listened to Sparklehorse and an existential void slowly started to fill up.
Behind the name Sparklehorse (which really isn’t a regular band, but rather an ongoing musical experiment) you’ll find the creator Mark Linkous. A many-faceted and complicated character, shaped by William Blake’s poetry and Daniel Johnston’s credibility, as well as by early power pop and old country. ”It’s a wonderful life” is Sparklehorse’ third album and the album that turned my own musical journey upside down.
Of course it’s impossible to describe music with words, especially Mark Linkous’ diverse and sometimes inaccessible work. This is music that requires attention and presence. You never know what’s behind the next corner, while it all in a strange way always feels familiar and homely. When I listen to Sparklehorse I always find myself having a perspective from below, often an animal’s perspective, where there’s room for small and uncontrolled emotions. At the same time the willful lyrics leave a lot of space for a free interpretation in a way that it feels untouched each time I listen. But above all, what makes Sparklehorse interesting to listen to and come back to is that the small things and what’s forgotten gets so much attention. Things that at a first glance seems trivial, are allowed to grow and turn into something new and exciting every time.
Mark Linkous has meant a lot to me, both as a songwriter and as a producer, and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that it doesn’t need to be perfect to sound good. That is something that I constantly remind myself about when I get stuck in the creative swamps. If a good song is performed on a mouth harp or on a ukulele and it’s still good, then you know you have succeeded.
Favorite album: It’s a wonderful life (2001)
Favorite song: Any song really, but a good start could for example be ”Gold Day” or ”Shade and Honey”
A Swedish artist to give some extra attention
A rather new and interesting accquaintance is Jeanette Sollén, who writes some kind of quirky and unpredictable pop music. We have recently started a one year long collaboration where she writes songs which I then produce; one song each month is the plan. First up was the song Yves:
One of my own songs you should listen to
I seldom get 100% satisfied with my own productions, but if I would pick one of them, the new song ”Soap” feels rather good. I think I have managed to capture a feeling and a sound which feels both old and new at the same time, without being intrusive. ”20 million people” is also a song that other people often come back to and that never feels boring.
Soap (from the EP “Wasted Time”, Turn Off Your Television)
she laid her head
on my chest
as the sun burned
down the west
there’s one thing we still got
this one last dance in this parking lot
Sparklehorse, “Heart of darkness”