The Black Atlantic
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The Black Atlantic

Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands | INDIE

Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands | INDIE
Band Rock Folk




"Breakout album of the year?"


Introduced and recommended to me from the good folks at The Waiting Room (see them on the blogroll to your right please) – The Black Atlantic are currently on hardcore repeat over here. As soon as you spin it a bit, you will feel the same way I am sure.

The Album is Reverence for Fallen Trees and has just been released (presumably on August 26th via their website) and they are giving it away for the low low low low price of your email address! I am pretty sure this is a scam, I mean, the kind of scam that doesn’t sell your email address and provides you with a full album of great indie-folk-pop completely free of charge. I love those types of scams.

A little bit about the album from the website:

In February, 2008, in between tours, The Black Atlantic approached the international recording project “In a Cabin With” (IACW) about a possible recording session. IACW were immediately enthusiastic and plans for a late 2008 recording, to take place in a log cabin, were made. The cabin, owned by van der Velde’s in-laws, is located in the small town of Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York.

If the “process” sounds a bit familiar to another great album created by locking oneself in a cabin that is hidden deep in the wilderness – then you are correct. While Bon Iver’s “For Emma…” album was a bit more singer-songwriter, this album would have been the album he did if he brought friends. There are crazy great hooks in these songs, they catch you immediately (which incidentally was not the case for me and the Bon Iver breakout album). There is also a bit of melancholy throughout the release, this assists greatly in the sound that floats all around and you get lost in it. There are copious amounts of strings, piano and harmonies (and I apologize for another reference to Justin Vernon, but even front-man, Geert van der Velde vocals are reminiscent of JV, if not a bit better trained). Listen to the title track and tell me it is not stunning – this is great stuff here. Recommended if you loved Bon Iver 2 years ago and you can handle a bit of Denison Witmer and a splash of Peasant. It’s “Sad Bastard Music” when you aren’t having too bad of a day…yeah, that might be the best description.

This brings me to the free album – frickin’ love it – but I still feel bad, the crew needs your love. So tell your friends, favourite it on your various social media hubs, and overall just enjoy it and tell all those that will listen. The band is doing a bit of an assault on various distribution channels by freely putting the album up on BitTorrent sites and such – so help spread the word already! -

"Editor's pick #174"


With their sad, shadowy crooning and sweet acoustic overtures, Holland’s The Black Atlantic are pretty much perfect for gusty fall weather. Frontman Geert van der Velde, late of the metal act Shai Hulud, wails and mourns like a Nordic Bon Iver, while the rest of the band — piano, flute and ukulele in hand — channel baroque pop through a chilly, North Sea lens.

Appropriately, the majority of their recent debut, Reverence for the Fallen Trees, was recorded in a log cabin in the Adirondacks. Its ten tracks, all earnest meditations on life, death and remembrance, can be downloaded for free on the Black Atlantic’s site. The Antlers and Spanish Prisoners also make appearances.

If you like either of those bands — or Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, and others of their folk-pop ilk — you’ll have Reverence on heavy rotation.

– Caitlin Dewey, Editor in Chief - 20 Watts Music Magazine

"In a Cabin With"

[...] The Black Atlantic, a band from Holland celebrating this release as their first album. A good comparison for this group would be somewhere between Bon Iver and Sigur Rós. The flowing melodies and steady, floating music is a nice relaxing listen.

You can see from the photo to the right that this a group with a wide variety of musical instruments at their disposal. However, it is the haunting piano notes that seem to lead each song. Paired with an equally haunting vocal style, and you’ll feel like your being taken to a strange, spooky, and beautiful place.

This also seems to be the most popular of the In A Cabin With’s releases - so probably not something to pass up. And interestingly enough, both the band’s website and the Cabin site encourage and cite torrent sites for much of this albums distribution success. I guess if you’re giving your album away, why not? - Audio

"9/10: "one of the best albums of 2009...""
(in Dutch)

In 2008 trok de Groningse band The Black Atlantic naar de VS, om daar in een blokhut het debuut Reverence For Fallen Trees op te nemen. De Atlantische oceaan over om daar een van de beste platen van Nederlandse hand in 2009 te registreren.

Vanaf de eerst toon trekt The Black Atlantic je mee in de melancholie. Noot op noot raakt, en lijkt niet zozeer geschreven maar puur ontstaan als in een natuurlijk proces.

Rondom aanzwellende en afnemende pianoloopjes worden ambient velden gebouwd zoals bij bands als Sigur Rós en Múm. IJskoude rillingen trekken over je rug, dit is slowcore zoals slowcore moet klinken.


Traag trekt de plaat aan je voorbij, alsof je in slow motion meevliegt op de rug van een immense vogel. Een landschap van koortjes, desolate gitaar, aanzwellende blazers, gebroken en falset zanglijnen.

The Black Atlantic kristalliseert haar nummers in de zelfde wijze waarin Bon Iver, Great Lake Swimmers en andere nu-folk grootheden dat doen. En daarmee schaart ze zich ook meteen tussen die groten.

Reverence For Fallen Trees kent geen mindere nummers, wel een paar die er nog iets meer uitspringen. Heirloom is er zo een, klein beginnend maar langs repetitieve piano steeds verder uitgroeiend met blazers, melodica en opruiende percussie dat je de boxen bijna in wordt getrokken. En ook An Ocean And Peril brengt je bijna aan het zweven, klein in instrumentarium, maar o zo groots in vocalen.

Kleine gebaren

En dat is wellicht ook het beste om The Black Atlantic te kenmerken; een band die met kleine gebaren een groots en meeslepend geluid neerzet. Zelfs als er niets gebeurt, is er iets gaande in de muziek. Met een dun penseeltje worden accenten gelegd, waardoor de schijnbaar onveranderlijke begeleidingsmuziek voortdurend verandert.

En daar overheen de aangrijpende falsetstem, die vaak ook alleen maar herhaalt. Zoals is in Walked-On Wood, “He looms, He looms, ..., ...,” waar meer ook niet nodig is. De Groningers grijpen je en laten je niet meer los.

Deze plaat leeft en geeft bij elke luisterbeurt iets nieuws. Hij is bij de eerste al goed, maar gaat daarna alleen nog maar groeien. Een debuut om de vingers bij af te likken.

9/10 - (biggest Dutch news website)


Darkling, I Listen (EP) 2012
Reverence for Fallen Trees (LP) 2009
Send This Home (EP) 2007 / 2008



Two years after releasing their debut album ‘Reverence for Fallen Trees’ (2009) Dutch folk-rockers The Black Atlantic present their new 5 song EP ‘Darkling, I Listen’ (release 13-01-12 Beep! Beep! Back up the Truck)

From the near classical guitar intro of the opening, brooder-song “The Aftermath”, it is clear that ‘Darkling, I Listen’ is a much different sonic animal than the intimate, and mostly acoustic, affair of The Black Atlantic’s debut album ‘Reverence for Fallen Trees.’ Clocking in at 23 minutes and 23 seconds, ‘Darkling’ contains five fully sculpted songs with a wide array of elements and influences, from 70’s psychedelic folk–rock to Phil Spector-esque orchestrated chamber pop and 60’s Motown soul sensibilities. It also takes informed cues from current indie epitomes such as Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, and Bon Iver. The Black Atlantic wears these influences on its sleeve without sounding inauthentic.

‘Darkling I, Listen’ is an immersive listening experience, rustic and pastoral, but without the obvious pretty embellishments. It is impressionistic in its scope, full of wide-open vistas and cavernous sonic swells.

Lyrically the songs paint the psychological tensions and inward journey of a protagonist who, after an argument, finds himself going through an intense emotional/existential rollercoaster ride. Over the course of his sleepless night, his past, his reality, and his future appear in a whole new light of day. Yet somehow it all sounds sunny. Or perhaps, the moon that looms behind clouds is the more suited a metaphor, as it does in the stunning album artwork by visual artists Tracy Maurice and Matt Moroz (known for their artwork for Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade).

Since releasing their debut album in 2009 the band has been on the road almost non stop performing close to a 100 shows a year. In Europe the band has toured with Windmill (UK), Woven Hand (US) and good friends Rue Royale (UK). The band also opened up most shows for Midlake (US) in the Netherlands and shared the stage with The Tallest Man on Earth (SE) in the U.K. In addition to their European shows, the band has toured the US a total of seven times where ‘Darkling, I Listen’ will be released later in 2012 by Beep! Beep! Back up the Truck and Redeye Distribution.

Most notably they played the 2010 and 2011 edition of the world’s largest music festival SXSW (US). In addition to SXSW the band performed at Filter’s Culture Collide Festival in Los Angeles, CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and NXNE in Toronto. In March 2011 the band was invited to perform at the prestigious JUE Music + Art Festival in Beijing and Shanghai. Afterwards the band toured China for two weeks.

After all this relentless touring, you can hear the band has become a tightly woven group. The songs that comprise ‘Darkling’ came together during two months of intense writing sessions in the late spring and early summer of 2011. The band fleshed the songs out both at home and on their countless tours. They spent the additional summer and early fall painstakingly tracking and mixing, poring over every little detail and nuance of their recordings. Yet, for all this hard work, ‘Darkling’ sounds organic and full of life, not overworked. Maybe that is because the recording is mostly a home brew produced entirely by the band themselves, with band member Matthijs Herder at the helm. Also brought on board were mix engineering wizard Chris Coady (Beach House, Grizzly Bear), and indie rock lifer of fun Paul Pilot (Duke Special), each of whom contributed a mix of a track.
‘Darkling, I Listen’ thus manages to transcend the confines of the EP format. It is no in-between-albums effort. It is a small, dreamlike time capsule of a nightly universe.

The EP has been released on CD in a 6 page digipack including an 8 page booklet and on 12 inch vinyl wrapped up in a beautiful gatefold cover. As with their debut it’s possible to stream the songs online for free at the band’s website or at label Beep! Beep! Back up the Truck.