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Tallest Man on Earth - Tallest Man on Earth

  by Finn Cargill

published: 21 / 2 / 2011

Tallest Man on Earth - Tallest Man on Earth


New Pennyblackmusic writer Finn Cargill examines the career of the Tallest Man on Earth, the moniker for Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson

A variety of woody ostinatos, an effortlessly casual aesthetic and a romantic, dusty-trail style are what set apart the works of the Tallest Man On Earth from many other works of folk that are presenting themselves in the contemporary music world. Behind the Bob Dylan-esque, gruff and callused-sounding vocals is the Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson. His dexterous riffs and vivacious strumming are quickly distinguishing the Scandinavian pioneer as a man passionately devoted to the authentic sounds and the intricacy of the guitar strings. Whilst fixation on the smooth resonance of these singing strings is only natural, it is still refreshing to hear the rattle and slides of his second stringed instrument, the banjo, and such songs as ‘Kids on the Run’ make his use of piano equally exciting. The almost Country/Western sound that Matsson gives so well is a great relief in the folk industry. While other bands appear to make more accessible folk music for a more mainstream audience, such as Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling and Fleet Foxes, it is reassuring to see that gritty folk roots can still be seen in such a modern musician. Despite a charmingly consistent sound, Matsson’s works to-date have shown him to be anything but a one-trick pony. From the Country-feel of his debut self-titled EP 5 years ago, he developed his style to produce his first album ‘Shallow Grave’ in 2008. Both of these were released under the label Gravitation. While hosting soothingly upbeat tracks such as ‘The Blizzard’s Never Seen The Desert Sands’ and ‘This Wind’, the album has a balance of alluringly poetic songs, ‘Where Do My Bluebirds Fly’ and ‘Into The Stream’ being an example of this diversity. Following his initial work, Matsson went on to continue his streak, releasing an album, a single and an EP last year. ‘Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird’, under Dead Oceans, presented 5 tracks that were refreshingly slow-paced, and while digressing to a more folk-rock state, we can see a yearningly mellow collection of songs, true to the singer-songwriter’s previous romantic style. The Tallest Man On Earth would prove himself to be capable of one success after another, upon his release of second album ‘The Wild Hunt’ under the same record label Dead Oceans. This album seemed like an extension of the first album, emitting the same evocative lyrics and passionate feel. With an impressive track-record under the proverbial belt, there can only be hopes of further achievements for a man content on thrashing strings and winning hearts.

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