It turns out that the great Peter Gabriel cover of Bon Iver’s “Flume” for his record Scratch My Back isn’t the whole story. Bon Iver was asked to contribute a cover as well, and the result is a split 7″ with a cover of Gabriel’s “Come Talk To Me” that will be available as an exclusive from Jagjaguwar at participating Record Store Day stores. More info after the jump!
For anyone who has witnessed a Bon Iver performance over the course of the past couple of years, one thing that stays with you is the group’s rare gift in covering other artists’ material. From The Outfield’s “Your Love,” to the Sean Carey led Talk Talk cover “I Believe In You”, to a group harmonizing effort in Loudon Wainwright’s “The Swimming Song” or the now legendary rendition of Sarah Siskind’s “Lovin’s for Fools,” the group’s talent for rendering material and making it their own is impossible to ignore.
The thoughtful approach and nuanced appreciation displayed by Bon Iver illustrates a compelling understanding of the music they interact with. Who wouldn’t want to hear their favorite song done with such care, such homage to the original, such invention brought to the details, such great questions asked about the music itself? The rich and selfless tradition of sharing the jubilation in others music lives on, vitally with Bon Iver.
When Peter Gabriel called Bon Iver ringleader Justin Vernon and asked if he’d like to do a swap of sorts, it was an instant done deal. Vernon could have picked up a guitar and taken a standard approach to the cover, but that is not how a Bon Iver project works. Its very spirit has become collaborative and experimental. By enlisting the help of Bon Iver regular Sean Carey, as well his sister and brother in law, Vernon made this a Bon Iver affair, and expanded the Bon Iver family yet further.
The Bon Iver rendition of “Come Talk To Me,” from Peter Gabriel’s 1992 album “Us,” is an intimated triumph. It has the sensation of soaring, but its feet and hands are dug into the ground, rooting it there while it flirts with flight.
On the flip side, Peter Gabriel’s off kilter arrangement and instrumentation of “Flume,” the lead track from the Bon Iver classic “For Emma, Forever Ago,” bounces like the echo from a grandfather clock in an empty wooden room, marking time, the most subtle events reverberating intimately in lasting cycles. As part of Gabriel’s ambitious “Scratch My Back” series, this rendition of “Flume” reminds us of his greatness, and gives us a glimpse into the working mind of a legend who helped define and redefine the artful craftsmanship possible in pop music.
Jagjaguwar is f’n’a right humbled to be able to present this 7″ single as Record Store Day Exclusive in the US. Quantities are limited, go to your local shop and pick one up on Saturday April 17, as the music world celebrates an institution close to every album lover’s heart, the record store. Stick around, flip through some records. Who knows what might grab you.