Rami and the Whale - 'Rami and the Whale'
In many ways there are similarities between ‘Rami and the Whale’ (the solo project of Rasmus Blomqvist) to the extraordinary Otto Niklasson Elmerås whom we featured at the end of last week. Both Swedish artists have releases that were written over a 10 year period, and their songs reveal deeply soul searched and powerful reflections on life’s complexities over that period. There are less similarities with the actual musical output, but each is equally convincing in their own unique way.
Whilst Otto Niklasson Elmerås work is complex, the music of 'Rami and the Whale' is actually far more straightforward, at least in its instrumentation, and in this respect there are more parallels with our other featured artist today, GIRL. The blues folk style music is based predominantly around Rasmus Blomqvist’s acoustic guitar and occasional additional instruments, most notably the beautifully written violin and flute parts, but these are used in a considered and sparse way, with instruments used when they are needed rather than because they are there. This allows even greater emphasis on the lyrics, which are spiritual, honest and thought provoking.
I’ll try to highlight a few tracks that are particularly worthy of attention. I love the detail of the acoustic guitar line in ‘Unfinished Song’, and the violin introduction is so so subtle, almost barely audible at first, with a melancholy vocal melody which drifts along ‘Poorhouse’ has a slightly different feel with electric guitar and drums, and it has a more traditional structure, with a big chorus. ‘Echoes of Matter’ reminds me slightly of that fine English Chamber Folk band ‘The Miserable Rich’ (check out ‘Oliver’ for example, well worth listening to as well), it also has a dark edge and the lyrics are well worth checking out. The ‘Kitchen Song’ is a beautiful 2 minutes of simple melodies, with just guitar and flute, possibly my favourite song off the album. It ends with the longest track, ‘Tiny Seed’, just acoustic guitar, voice, the strongest lyrics of all and the question: ‘Am I the Jonah of lovers, Or the Boethius of faith, The coward on the run, or the victim of my state?’
Anyway whilst you contemplate the answer to that one, have a listen and look at Rami and the Whale performing ‘Night Falls’:
This is an album I’ve kept returning to over a 2 month period, and although writing about it has taken some time, that’s not because of any dislike of it. I actually think its impossible to dislike 'Rami and the Whale' anyway – for this is a singer songwriter who has poured all his thoughts and emotions over a 10 year period into an album, and who am I to try and suggest which aspects work best or least well. Just give this soft, delicate and considered album a listen, Rami and the Whale music is to be enjoyed and his poetic words given careful thought.
Nordic Music Review 7.5 /10