An indie rock fantasy 10 years in the making, Big Red Machine is the collaboration between Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner.
With sonic threads leading to their bands and various side projects (notably Vernon’s work in Volcano Choir), the restlessly creative duo sounds liberated to escape the restrictive bounds of their respective bands. If they laid down any creative constraint for themselves, it must have been to create something that is consistently beautiful, universally heartfelt and never the same.
Slow moving like nameless technicolor jellyfish, Big Red Machine lacks the structure and familiar contours of Vernon and Dessner’s main gigs, yet it also fills in a dark spot on the map between their expanding bodies of work. It’s a beautiful thing to hear two friends and respected peers create such warm, colorful chemistry together.
Ryan is a writer, editor and vinyl collector currently based in Los Angeles. He started Mini Music Critic in 2017.