4AD and Jagjaguwar have collaborated on a live session that captures a truly unique Bon Iver performance, featuring Justin Vernon and Sean Carey. Get ready, sit back, as this is perfect for a Sunday afternoon at home, on the couch and reading a book.
On recent tours fans will have become accustomed to seeing Vernon flanked by an eleven-piece band, with the swell in numbers lending a grandiose element to even his most delicate songs. Sidestepping expectations, the idea Vernon presented for this session was to provide a wildly different experience.
Vernon was joined only by Carey, with the pair positioning themselves opposite one another at two grand pianos. Although neither Justin nor Sean’s first instrument is piano, they were able to remodel the songs in a way that showcases their complimentary vocals and, perhaps more strikingly, a seemingly effortless ability to experiment with form and structure.
As such, fans are treated to jaw-dropping interpretations of several songs from both the new album and the ‘Blood Bank’ EP, as well as a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. And interpretation is an apt word, as these songs are artfully abstracted from their original incarnations. Rather than layer the sound as on ‘Bon Iver, Bon Iver’, the focus is on paring back, in part evoking the minimalist approach of contemporary classical music, while remaining true enough to the source material to retain those elements characteristic of Bon Iver.