Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pitstop: Jordan Klassen

(photo by James Moes)

After I returned home from the tempestuous whirlwind that is SXSW and had time to survey the wreckage, I noticed something peculiar - in the pocket of one of my favorite button down shirts was a business card. That by itself isn't all that strange but the fact that I could not place where I had picked it up was. Though I make it a point to remember absolutely everyone I possibly can that I meet, I could not remember who or even when I had received this card. The card advertised one Jordan Klassen and his rather short SX sojourn; shows I had clearly missed.

A perfunctory amount of research revealed all I needed to know to hook me - chamber folk. Yes. Orchestral folk. Double yes. Whatever Klassen choose to call it, I was sold instantly. Klassen's self-assigned fairy folk classification is as fitting as it is subversive. The Vancouver singer/songwriter's most recent full length Repentance is light with surprisingly darkly colored flourishes, springy without coming across the slightest bit whimsical. From the twinkling "Sweet Chariot" that manages to be both spacious and grand, Klassen's instrumentation choices are as fascinating as his songwriting, as a part of his overall character as his narrative options and popsmithery. Klassen has this uncanny knack for capturing beautifully fleeting musical moments and fitting them for an all out glide, providing his own wind for his skyward traverses.

One of the clear indicators of Klassen's musicianship is just how much time he gives his arrangements to breathe, often firmly establishing that complementary part before the introduction of any other. His songs don't take on undeservedly extensive lengths because of it however and therein lies the most impressive of Klassen's feats; his instrumentals retaining their pop sensibility while feeling fully flushed out. And yet, Klassen is not the type to solely let his arrangements speak for him. Many of Repentance's most endearing moments are those that strip back the forest of orchestral lushness for the comfortably bare.

Overall Jordan Klassen simply displays a remarkable amount of versatility deployed with a svelte and effortless ease. Pay attention. Something tells me Klassen's only just getting started. Hear more tunes at Klassen's Bandcamp.

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