Release Date: Aug 31, 2018
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Though the seeds of Big Red Machine were planted in 2008, when the National's Aaron Dessner sent Bon Iver's Justin Vernon an instrumental song sketch of the same name, the project's self-titled debut was compiled over the two years leading up to its release in August of 2018. It arrives after Bon Iver's surprising 22, A Million (2016), which saw the indie folk icon incorporating keyboards, samples, and manipulated sounds, and the National's Sleep Well Beast (2017), which also employed electronics as part of its expansive sonic scheme. Using dozens of instruments -- including guitars, programmed and live drums, strings, portable synthesizers, and sampling and looping devices -- Big Red Machine's off-kilter soundscape was designed by Dessner, with Vernon adding impressionistic lyrics and wide-ranging vocal lines.