Right now I could be gliding through the air on a tire swing, dipping beneath a sturdy tree bow and skimming the still surface of a fishpond. I am not, instead my ears are wooed by the throaty acoustic sounds of The Tallest Man On Earth (Kristian Matsson), but it feels exactly the same, unforced yet pleasantly stirring.
I am not going to compare Matsson, the Swedish singer-songwriter, to Bob Dylan as so many culturally spellbound past music critics have. As one of the most influential icons of the twentieth century, Kristian Matsson could only hope to catch a whisper of Dylan’s diminutive shadow let alone stand right in it. Rather than making impossible assumptions, enjoy The Tallest Man on Earth for exactly what it is, an undemanding accompaniment of guitar and raspy, howling vocals under a Scandinavian temperament. It is simplicity at its best.
After having released one of the best folk records of 2008 (Shallow Grave), Matsson has returned with The Wild Hunt, an album so satisfying, with songs like ‘Burden of Tomorrow’, ‘A Lion’s Heart’ and ‘King of Spain’, you will become absent to life and existence within every single airy harmony.
Matsson seems to have the power to unleash himself from the weight of any conceptualization, with chords freely floating in and out with the breeze, leaving you temporarily moved but magically unaffected. Having previously toured with the likes of John Vanderslice and Bon Iver, the hollow, twanged voice of Mattson is not nearly surprising, nor are his introverted lyrics and musical arrangements.
The Wild Hunt is the most beautiful type of drug; numbing and arousing, shifting your disposition until the last chord when you are relocated back to reality. It is a rare moment of bliss, completely attainable.
For now, I’m still on the swing over the fishpond.