The Migrant

“The Organ Grinder” – The Migrant

With guitar and voice, “The Organ Grinder” starts off simply, plaintively—think Thom Yorke doing a Neil Young imitation—only to acquire offhand grandeur as a graceful parade of instruments (accordion, melodica, organ, guitalele [?], various percussive devices) add their voices to the mix. For a simple-seeming singer/songwriter composition, the song unfolds with an unerring sense of drama and beauty. Check out, as one example, the whistled motif that enters, almost as an afterthought, at 0:58, and then the unexpected but almost touching way the guitar joins the whistle in delivering the second half of its melody.

And if all songs showed such attention to dramatic development as this one—the last minute here is rich and surprising—the world would surely be a better place. The rhythmic shift at 3:07 is alone worth the price of admission, even if you (to think!) had to buy it, which in this case you don’t.

The Migrant is the name that Danish singer/songwriter Bjarke Bendtsen has given to his musical project, which represents the culmination of a couple of years spent living in Texas and also traveling around the U.S. The record itself, however, was recorded with friends when Bendtsen was visiting Denmark last summer. The end result, Travels in Lowland, will be self-released later this month.