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Interview with Justin Vernon

Justin Vernon shares the stories behind Bon Iver’s new album ’22, A Million’ | Local Current Blog | The Current from Minnesota Public Radio

The Messina’ contraption is a rare occurrence in today’s ProTools-oriented production world. Rather than record an instrument or voice into a computer and manipulate the audio file in post-production, Vernon and Messina have figured out a way to split a melody into several harmonies on the fly, giving the player the ability to change the chords and arrangement in real time. The Messina is all over 22, A Million, but its abilities are heard most distinctly in the mind-bending saxophone spinout on “45,” the second-to-last track on the album. Michael Lewis’s free-form sax lines bend and slip in and out of time as Vernon arranges them into gospel chord changes, and it sounds like Lewis’s playing is a ribbon that Vernon is picking up and zig-zagging through the air.

And then me and Lewis, the instrument we were playing was only possible to play as two people, and it was just us making music as freely as humanly possible.