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Love Letter To A Record: Camarano On Bon Iver’s ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’

Written by Mat Cammarano on July 2, 2019

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Mat Cammarano, Camarano – Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago

It’s my first year out of high school and to be honest I’m kinda lost. I’m on the bus to uni, studying geology (I lasted exactly one semester), listening to For Emma, Forever Ago (cheers Limewire) on an iPod mini I got for Christmas. It’s a headphone album and the perfect escape for 45 mins of transit.

For Emma was somehow familiar/comforting/known yet unique/foreign/intriguing. It sounded intimate, imperfect, human, like demo recordings. Oddly enough it felt within reach. Hey, maybe I could make something like this one day. I had been making music for a couple years and and was diving in headfirst. It opened up a whole world of DIY recording. The big takeaway – perfection is overrated, the magic is in making something real, in capturing the moment while you’re smack bang in the middle of it.

I studied it back to front, pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the compositions. It had just enough interesting elements without getting in the way of the song. I loved the buzzy string sound in ‘Flume’, the walls of backing vocals, the subdued kick drums, the seemingly random chopped up chaotic drum parts and the proudly imperfect horn parts. The at times cryptic lyrics allowed me to project my own emotions.

At first listen it’s easy to dismiss it as another introspective singer-songwriter record. But, each listen unveils another layer. I hear melancholy, beauty, humour, triumph, release, pain, hope – the full spectrum is there. It felt unpretentious and undercooked in the best possible way, I was and still am completely charmed by it.

Camarano’s new EP ‘Shadow Calling’ is out now. He’ll be playing this Friday at Perth’s El Grotto. Details here.

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