Bon Iver session reminds me of the “The Köln Concert”

YouTube video “Bon Iver at AIR Studios (4AD/Jagjaguwar Session)” from 9 years ago (2012) is a video of Bon Iver’s live session that I still watch over and over again. For some reason, this video reminds me of Keith Jarrett’s “The Köln Concert.”


Bon Iver at AIR Studios

A live session between Bon Iver, Justin Vernon, and Sean Carey made possible by indie music label 4AD and Jagjaguwar. Three of the five songs are from the 2011 album “Bon Iver, Bon Iver” and the other two are covers and songs from the EP.

The sight of Justin Vernon and Sean Carey playing the grand piano, the way they play without effort and talk to each other through sound, makes me think that this is what music should be like. This video is nine years old, but I always come back to it and watch it again.


The video has been viewed around the world on YouTube, with over 10 million views. In the comments section of the video, there are comments such as, “Baby stopped crying after listening to this performance,” and “Baby was always calm when listening to this song to the baby in the stomach.” Maybe this video has a healing effect …

Set List
1. Hinnom, TX
2. Wash.
3. I Can’t Make You Love Me
4. Babys
5. Beth/Rest

Crazy beautiful

24:44 second video “Bon Iver at AIR Studios” consists of five songs. The first song, “Hinnom, TX” and the fourth song, “Babys” are performances that contemporary art using music.

My favorites are the second, third, and fifth songs. In addition to this video, there are other great MV and sounds.


The second song, “Wash.” This song, of course, reminds me of the music video when I listen to it, although I listen to the entire AIR Studios video. The video was shot on location at a beach in Byron Bay, Australia (near Lake Ainsworth, which I mentioned in another article).

The video is of a man walking into the ocean from a sandy beach in a slightly wavy sea with the weather looking like it is about to rain. The focus on the man’s feet, the waves, and the sea, combined with the song, burned into my mind. Once you see this music video, it will leave a lasting impression on you.

The third song was “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt, a classic song from the ’90s that has been covered by artists from various genres (Adele, etc). I’ve seen Justin Vernon’s solo version of “I Can’t Make You Love Me / Nick of Time” (Nick of Time is also a Bonnie Raitt cover) many times, but the AIR Studios video is the best. (Nick of Time is also a Bonnie Raitt cover)

The AIR Studios shows Sean Carey and Justin Vernon singing alternately. This song was also included on the B-side of the single cut “Calgary.” I have listened to this song many times when I go to the beach or to the mountains, to my home, or while traveling in my car.


The fifth song was “Beth / Rest”, the last song on the second album. And it’s a heart-wrenching masterpiece. In addition to AIR Studios, I often listen to an arranged version of this song, “Beth/Rest” (piano), recorded live at “NPR music World Cafe” in the US (around 25:12). Justin Vernon sings this song with a low voice and a high voice. You can hear it as a different expression from the one on the album.

It’s not a music expert, but I feel that Bon Iver doesn’t just reproduce the songs on the album, but has many variations and arrangements for each song. It’s as if the musicians themselves are enjoying the songs they’ve created.


That is the beauty of Bon Iver and may be one of the reasons why it is loved all over the world. It may have something to do with the fact that it reminds me of Keith Jarrett’s improvised performance “The Köln Concert” that I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Keith Jarrett’s “The Köln Concert”

Keith Jarrett is one of America’s most famous jazz and classical pianists and a legend among jazz lovers. The Köln Concert” is a solo piano album released by the German music label ECM Records, with all improvisations*.
* Improvisation: There is no sheet music, and you can compose and arrange on the spot to create and perform.


The Köln Concert” is an album that does not fade away even after listening to it now, there were many dramas that led up to the creation of this album. Keith Jarrett was on tour in Europe in 1975 when he performed at the Opera House in Köln, Germany. He had traveled five hours by car from Zurich, Switzerland, where he had performed before Köln, not getting enough sleep and suffering from a chronic back disease.

There were times when the pianos were not prepared or tuned differently than those ordered. “The Köln Concert” was made under such adverse conditions. All you can hear from the album is the sound of the piano, and if you listen carefully, you can hear Keith Jarrett’s growling voice. Imagine that it was a tremendous tension. It became the world’s best-selling solo piano album, selling over 3.5 million copies worldwide.

Bon Iver and Keith Jarrett

Bon Iver’s AIR Studios sessions and Keith Jarrett’s “The Köln Concert” may technically be two completely different worlds of sound, but I sense a similarity. What is that all about? The time, the space, the tension of the artists… I haven’t found the answer yet… All I can say is that the music is seen and heard all over the world.


Calm your mind with music

Recently, another new infectious disease (Delta variant) has been spreading in Asia and Europe. Then there is the heatwave that is happening in Canada and North America. The temperature seems to be very high (about 47.9 degrees Celsius). We can’t be too careful in Japan either. It may be difficult to keep the mind calm as the earth is abnormal and the places where it has been easy to spend are changing.

At this time, I would like to take some time to listen to the Bon Iver session from nine years ago and Keith Jarrett’s album to calm my mind. Good music can calm people down.
(Bon Iver’s live sessions can be found on YouTube under “Bon Iver at AIR Studios.” I couldn’t find any video of Keith Jarrett’s “The Köln Concert,” but you can listen to it on iTunes Music, other music distribution services, or on CD.)


BIG RED MACHINE album release!!

July 2021, we got a song from Big Red Machine, the band with Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner of The National!!! The album title is “How long do you think It’s gonna last?” and the official release is supposed to be around August 2021. The album is titled “How long do you think it’s gonna last? I’m looking forward to it.