Listen to this track by experimental baroque folk outfit based in Utrecht, The Netherlands; I Am Oak. It’s “Gliss” as taken from their EP Skulk, which was released just this past January.
The band’s work is centered around singer-songwriter Thijs Kuijken, with the overall mood and feel of the music being decidedly noctural. Yet, the night here isn’t a raucous night out, or even noirish, so much as it is spacious and thoughtful, with a sort of dark serenity soaked right in.
This song is a standout of the Skulk EP, based as it is around the glissando lines of somnambulistically dueling cellos (hence the title, I suppose), with Kuijken’s equally pensive and mournful voice caught quietly in between. The effect is something that is equally restful and disorienting, with the ear landing on one note, only to slip down to another, yet to be enwrapped in sonic warmth all at once.
“Gliss”, and the EP off of which is comes stands as the herald for the band’s newest full-length record, Oasem , standing as a follow-up to 2010’s On Claws. The new record, (the title being a Dutch word meaning ‘breath, and pronounced ‘awesome‘) is described to be slightly darker, and with a wider range of instrumentation than you’re hearing here. One instrument used is the balafon, a 21-key mallet-percussion instrument which is kind of like an idiophone, and hailing from West Africa.
To expand on this internationalist vibe, I Am Oak have recently set out on tour, having made previous headway in Europe, and hitting North American shores over the last month.
Catch up with I Am Oak on the I Am Oak band website.
Also, for more information, watch this interview with Thijs Kuijken of I Am Oak, conducted while the band were in Austin for SXSW.