Isak Sirkka explores the intimacy that lo-fi presents on the warm tender tones of “The Tallest Tales in a Place Called Forever”. Experimental yet imbued with so much emotion the outpouring of sheer poetry gestures feels gracious. He keeps things to the absolute essentials and proves to be a master of mood. Melody, rhythm, these are ancillary for the main attention is paid to moody textures and atmospheres. Stylistically he brings shoegaze, lo-fi, folk, jazz, and classical into the fray without ever settling into any one style.
His approach is uniquely his, but he does have at least some partners in mining this very specific, awed sort of presence. Ian William Craig’s sparse yet soothing approach certainly feels like a reference point for, like Ian, Isak does not adhere to traditional structure regarding chorus/riffs. The sound instead has a nebulous quality with the spirit akin to that of walking through a dense fog, every gesture amplified by the sheer amount of space. Beyond this, his adherence to a bluesy folk presence recalls early Iron & Wine before they embraced a big band approach. Vocals too have their own gentle, meditative ode to them.
A nod to Slowdive’s cerebral spirit takes hold on the deliberate pace of “If We Were Alone in an Endless Open Space”. Here his guitar work has a delicacy to it for there is a nimbleness to the way he explores the careful phrases of the guitar. Intricate delicate unfurls over the delicate “Hands Folded, a Raven in Gold” where his emotionally-laden delivery touches upon Nick Drake’s Pink Moon period. With a slight degree of energy comes the surprisingly playful “So We’ll Stay Young”. Small gestures gain great significance on the spacious “The Bower Song”. On “A Nameless Picture and a Pointless Notion” the piece has a pastoral beauty to it, for he takes his time in exploring.
Little phrases come to the forefront on the magical psychedelic folk of “The Red Satin Time-Traveller”. After the interlude of “Prologue to Desert-Love Daring” he delves into a drone-like cadence on the blurred beauty of “Drawing You on a Map”. His voice sounds so far away and it never quite comes into focus, lending the track a mysterious aura. “Castaways and Other Amblers” ends the album off on an ambitious note, for it sounds a little like Stars of the Lid if they embraced fully a more acoustic tenor.
“The Tallest Tales in a Place Called Forever” displays the uncanny ability of Isak Sirkka to develop his own sort of dreamy language, one that has such a kindness to it.