|"A stone church from the 13th century out in the Swedish countryside. Visions, influences, and our own heritage blended together. Beautiful ambience and a peaceful atmosphere. One microphone and our instruments. This is what we played..."
The 'we' of Tiny Island and its eponymous Opus 3 release are: Göran Wennerbrandt on Weissenborn and Sandén Hawaiian guitar, National slide guitar, bouzouq, mandolin, dobro and slack key guitar; Nick Malmeström on 12-string, slack key and standard guitars, bouzouq and Sandén 10-string mandola; Janne Petersson on accordion and rainsticks; Janna Petersson on piano and organ; Johan Hedin on nyckelharpa; Ahmet Tekbilek on kaval and ney flutes; Olle Eriksson on double bass; and Björn Gideonsson on percussion.
The 'what' of Tiny Island fits on a stamp: Windham Hill/ECM-style minimalist meditations on the glory of plucked strings and lyrical, way down-tempo numbers. Forget speed, virtuosity for its own sake, compositional complexity. Think sailor's eye, unfocused by staring at endless horizons and open seas. Think whittling down of stuff, of a monk confined to a small cell which he entered with tons of books to eventually throw out everything but a simple cot and stool. Think advanced contemplation when the mind empties and the occasional sparse impression is surrounded by vast space and emptiness.
I call it rainy day music. Overcast skies provoke feelings of coziness, of retreating into a warm cave, of consigning high-activity exploits to sunnier opportunities, to snuggle up with a good book, to pet one's cat. To listen to Anouar Brahem, Jan Garbarek, Zoltán Lantos, Jacques Loussier's Satie. Or Tiny Island. Dreamy, elegiac, like the famed island of Avalon disappearing in the mists, this is music for a fine glass of aged port, a potbelly stove filled with advanced embers, some rich and dark fruit bread with sweet butter and honey. Call it quintessential chill-down space-out fare, with guitar sounds so varied, so rich and precious as to make you feel in the magical after-hours company of magicians, there in the back room of an obscure luthier known only to the true cognoscenti who pulled up a few humble chairs to play together, impromptu, unrehearsed, separated by a choice pipe or a few select spirits. And there you are, too, listening, unnoticed, observing this crack in time to feel suspended somewhere wonderful.
This is a true no-brainer recommendation. Everyone loves different things - but at the end of the day, in the night-time hours, we all fancy the same comfort zone. Tiny Island is that. Contact the folks from May Audio for your copy. You'll thank me for it. Your significant other will, too. Promise.