Bloch Eyot – 'Magic Folkgrass'
We’ve had to have a bit of an enforced break unfortunately in January due to work and family things affecting our little group, but we now have a clear run ahead of us to take us through to May – no excuses in bringing you a stream of great new Nordic releases and UK gigs. And whilst the last month I’ve had pressures from all kinds of places, throughout it all I’ve been fortunate to have some really comforting music to take with me, with ‘Bloch Eyot’, and his beautiful album ‘Magic Folkgrass’ being the most welcome of escapes in particular.
‘Bloch Eyot’ is the musical project of Danish born Nikolaj Bloch, a classically trained pianist who headed to London in the 90’s to form Indie band ‘Subcircus’, whom, incidentally, I highly recommend you track down online, because they were pretty fabulous. Anyway he’s then gone on to music writing in Hollywood, running a music studio in Lebanon, and now he’s released a solo album under the name ‘Bloch Eyot’.
As regular readers known I try and avoid too many comparisons with all other musicians and bands when I’m reviewing, and with this particular album I’m not sure where to start either. But in essence ‘Bloch Eyot’ is simply a guitar based singer songwriter, who writes folk influenced songs with delicately written guitar lines – and throughout it all he has the comforting persona of your favourite Uncle too, the one who never lectures, and is able to give comforting advice in a non world weary manner.
My New Years resolution was to try and be succinct in my reviews, so I’ll suggest just a few highlights and reasons why this album works so well. The first thing that will hit you in opening track ‘Long Highway’ is the voice, which is so mature, cultured and utterly reassuring - its so difficult to believe that this is his first album as a lead vocalist. And then in ‘When it Rains’ we see the strength of ‘Bloch Eyot’ as a multi-instrumentalist, with a subtle cello line courtesy of Ian Burdge and cleverly formulated musical arrangements. But it’s the lyrics too that always resonate, unassuming and well constructed, especially in ‘Above the Storms’ and ‘Perfect Time for Leaving’, - ‘it’s the perfect time for leaving, too early to feel, before the sun has woken, before the world is real’. And ‘Waterfall’, is the most beautifully written track, lovely strings, and like the very best and most known songs, it sounds so simple too.
Bloch Eyot has written an album full of character, always understated and never trying to force feed sounds or words. To me it has a lovely balanced mix of melancholy and positivity, as in ‘Sorrow Has a Time’, and it has been a lovely and loyal companion over the last month, an album which I’ve been able to utterly immerse myself in, and escape to where necessary. It’s a reminder too of the value of a physical CD, so often I am forced to review albums streamed digitally, but having a personal copy of ‘Magic Folkgrass’ and carrying it around with me like a cherished family photo has made it feel even more personal and appreciated. So I highly recommend the cultured, beautifully written and ultimately uplifting ‘Magic Folkgrass’ to you all, and thanks too for sticking with us during our January break.
Nordic Music Review 9/10
Check out the following locations for info on Bloch Eyot, how to get his album, and all his tour info. In the last year he’s played over 100 gigs, including many house gigs, so please check out his website for more information
Official Website: http://blocheyot.com
Photo by Steve Brown