Published May 15, 2015This week, Swedish folk musician the Tallest Man on Earth released his fourth full-length, Dark Bird Is Home, on Dead Oceans. Largely written during a period in which the songwriter originally set aside to rest and regroup from an ambitious tour, Dark Bird Is Home has been described as the Tallest Man on Earth's most personal and direct work to date.
"I planned to take the entire year of 2014 off from touring and go home and just enjoy life in a slow pace, but a lot of things happened in my personal life," Kristian Matsson tells Exclaim! "I went through a divorce and a bunch of things so I wrote a lot of new songs because I had a lot of things I had to get out."
After recording much of his last album, 2012's There's No Leaving Now, alone in his home during the winter months — something he admits was "not a fun process" — Matsson decided to modify his approach this time around.
"We had a recording session that lasted two weeks in the middle of the summer with a couple of friends coming out to play the bass (Mats Winkvist) and drums (Niclas Nordin)," he explains.
Opting to record in Eau Claire, WI, home of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Matsson brought in local engineer BJ Burton (Megafaun, Volcano Choir), along with musicians from Vernon's band to play on Dark Bird Is Home.
"There were so many players around here coming through the studio, like Mike Lewis on saxophone and Mike Noyce [who] played viola and sang backup."
Although the writing and recording methods employed on Dark Bird Is Home are deliberately different than that on There's No Leaving Now, Matsson doesn't consider his new album a reaction to the last one.
"I just had the time and I had the equipment and I had the help of others, a lot of good things were lining up. All of a sudden I had all of this recorded, and today, I feel really proud of what came out of it."
The Tallest Man on Earth has a series of U.S. and European dates lined up in support of the album, and you can see all those here.