While the great vast majority of albums that I review here fall into the worlds of rock and metal, I find it both fun and important to wander elsewhere. The somewhat adjacent realms of atmospheric styles like noise, ambient, neofolk, etc. can give me something that hard-hitting guitars or growling vocals can’t. Sometimes, I really stumble across something that just touches the soul almost too well. Something that resonates on every level. Something that I can actually make a personal connection to. I wasn’t expecting Osi and the Jupiter to be the one to deliver that material, but I can’t think of anything better that could do the same as what’s been done here.
Almost a year ago, I moved to the state of West Virginia and, easily, my favorite aspect about this place is the simple fact that it is the only state in this country that is entirely within the Appalachian mountain range and you can really feel that heritage throughout the region that isn’t exclusive to the state, but it feels particularly strong here in my experience. To walk the rolling hills, to see the sky fold over the mountains as they reach off into the distance, the hear the running water coming down from those great heights, and to feel like a part of nature is to be in Appalachia; there’s real magic here to behold. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of when I was a child, and moving here has enabled me to live that dream almost as clearly as I could ever ask for. Listening to “Appalachia” is as close to actually being in those woods and on top of those mountains as music will likely ever get, and every single second of it is so beautiful it almost brings a tear to the eye.
Before this album, Osi and the Jupiter was an act that was primarily neofolk of an extremely high caliber such that it was their most recent album, “Nordlige Rúnaskog”, alone that made me realize how gorgeous this creation is. Stepping into the three soul-touching works that are on display here, it becomes clear that this act has changed their style to perfectly reflect how they feel about their homeland to create a beautifully engaging atmosphere. The addition of vocals, acoustic guitars, and ambient droning make the already-immaculate neofolk core of Osi and the Jupiter truly something else to behold that easily sets this act apart from anything else that I’ve encountered in the style. There’s true magic in every note of “Appalachia” such that even if you’ve only taken a brief walk through the woods, you can relate to this immense sense of the near-druidic force that permeates every moment of this humble but sprawling release. Each song has something to reel you in with as well as Osi and the Jupiter use everything at their disposal for this deeply personal release. A cello-commanded piece that’s feels as somber as much as undeniably beautiful, the strumming of a guitar that’s helmed by a soothing yet coarse guide, and a 12-minute work that sees every single asset that this act has ever brought to the table in glorious fashion; that’s just what’s on the surface of what “Appalachia” delivers to the soul, and I truly believe Osi and the Jupiter couldn’t have pulled it off any better.
I don’t think I’ve ever come across an album more fitting of its setting. Everything about “Appalachia” brings the beautiful woods and mountains of the range to light in such a tantalizing form that I haven’t been able to bring myself to stop listening in well over five hours at this point, and not once has it gotten old. It’s gripping in such a way that I can’t do true justice to it with words. The instrumentation leaves you in awe of what Osi and the Jupiter is capable of, and it’s with not even a half-hour runtime that “Appalachia” leaves a wondrous impression. There’s nothing more to this album that speaks to me more than these lyrics, and if it does for you too then I can’t recommend diving into this beautiful piece of art enough:
The forest speaks my name
In my dreams
The mountains call
The binding will of mountains
In the trees
They guide the soul
“Appalachia” releases on July 31st via Eisenwald!
PRE-ORDER “Appalachia” on Bandcamp here.
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