Equinox

by Black Oak

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    The Equinox album on CD features 11 tracks and comes packaged in beautiful full color artwork with a lyric booklet

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    The Equinox vinyl LP features 11 tracks and comes packaged in beautiful full color artwork
    You also get an immediate download in the format of your choice (wav, mp3, etc).

    Price includes shipping within the EU
    Vinyl orders from outside of the EU ? >> Please contact us via blackoakmail@gmail.com

    Includes unlimited streaming of Equinox via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

For the past year and a half Geert van der Velde (The Black Atlantic) and Thijs Kuijken (I am Oak) worked hard on writing and recording a collaborative album for their newly formed band Black Oak. The result of their combined songwriting skills is the beautifully balanced album 'Equinox' which will be released on van der Velde's own label/production company Bellwether.

Equinox is a modern day acoustic pop album grafted on a folk base. It's a classic album in the sense that it harkens back to the sound of Neil Young’s 'Harvest' or Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 'Déjà vu' as much as it fits in with modern day folk acts such as Fleet Foxes and Mount Eerie. Music rooted and embedded in both the English and American folk tradition. The songs on Equinox relish in the pastoral without relinquishing themselves to it.

The balance of night and day that the album title alludes is hidden in the details. There are no grandiose statements here. This is earthly music, suited as much for a late night stroll under a starlit sky as a daytime hike up the mountain. The songs are at once intuitive and deceptively clever. And the more you pay attention to the details, the more you want to follow them around and disappear into the fog of finesse that surrounds it.

Kuijken and van der Velde’s timbres and songwriting ideas complement each other so seemlessly that you forget this is the debut album by a new band. Of course, both songwriters have made their mark with their respective main bands I am Oak (Kuijken) and The Black Atlantic (van der Velde).  But it’s a rare thing when two individually talented songwriters come together and manage to blend their styles so fruitfully that the collaboration stands on it’s own. And, that’s just what Black Oak - the band name even being a synthesis of the aforementioned main band names - has managed to do on Equinox.

Equinox sounds warm and inviting as much as it is melancholic and dreamlike. It paints a musical landscape of sunlit canopies and shadowy valleys and leaves you with nightly echoes in an earthly trance. All the while shifting and shimmering in dynamic and pace. Its soaring guitar melodies, skyward vocal harmonies and meandering plucked acoustic guitars conjure up a world of harmony and balance that is almost meditative. As if the listener by chance stumbled into a secret city garden and is given a 40 minute respite of the rush of the day.

So too, the jointly written lyrics constantly shift between feelings of wonder for the natural world and the human condition (“The Grain”, “Gallop”, “Rove”), magical realism (“Whirl”), perseverance (“Because It’s There”) pensive, personal ruminations on life and death  (“When The Night is All I See”, “A Dirge” “Hunker”) and even a firm but gentle statement against violence and intolerance (“Melee”).

The gorgeously warm and vintage production value added by producer Matthijs Herder reminds us at once of Phil Spector's work with The Beach Boys and Phil Ek's hand in Fleet Foxes' emergence as one of today's most popular folk acts. But most importantly Equinox reminds us that in this day and highly advanced technical age all it takes to make a great album is a couple of guys who just sit down with their guitars to write good songs.

credits

released May 13, 2016

Music and lyrics by Geert van der Velde and Thijs Kuijken
Arranged by Geert van der Velde, Thijs Kuijken and Mischa Porte
Recorded and mixed by Matthijs Herder

Performed by:

Geert van der Velde – guitars and vocals
Thijs Kuijken – guitars and vocals
Mischa Porte – drums, percussion
Matthijs Herder – bass guitar, synths
Esther Postma – backing vocals, mellotron, pocket piano synth

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about

Black Oak Netherlands

Black Oak is a band from the Netherlands formed by Geert van der Velde (The Black Atlantic) and Thijs Kuijken (I am Oak).

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Track Name: When The Night Is All I See
In your eyes I see
Something light appear
In this sight I find
a pride

From a want to need
In a silence it speaks
In its wonted tongue
To me

When the night is all I see
I let the colors covet me

In your eyes I see
Something light appear
In this sight I find
delight

From this moment on
I can carry these fears
And to know them is
their end

When the night is all I see
I let the colors covet me

When the young are old inside
I imbue their dreams with fire

And when it’s suddenly here
The heft i know is there
And when it’s suddenly here
You keep me on my toes
And when it’s suddenly here
I see the gold for gold
And when it’s suddenly here
I see the dust for dust
And when it’s suddenly here
Exactly what it is
And when it’s suddenly here
And that’s what ties us in
And when it’s suddenly here
Dawn rises before us
Track Name: Because It's There
There’s still so much that I can learn
That I won’t understand
But even so, all I know will be forgotten soon

I’ll rise and fall again
Aimless and undulant
With blood that’s thicker than a bond
And my bones resolved to dust

There’s still a mountain to conquer
Because it’s there
And when I climb it I’ll know just how steep it was

I’ll rise and fall again
Aimless and undulant
With blood that’s thicker than a bond
And my bones resolved to dust

There’s still a lot I’ll become
On a road somewhere
Until the curtain call before the final act

I’ll rise and fall again
Aimless and undulant
With blood that’s thicker than a bond
And my bones resolved to dust

So, let the wind disperse
The traces of my steps

I’ll rise and fall again
There’s still a lot that I won’t understand

I’ll rise and fall again
There’s still a mountain because it’s there

I’ll rise and fall again
There’s still a lot I’ll become somewhere
Track Name: The Grain
Homewards, the auburn sky
Golden this summer light
Honed by the night bird’s cry
To the earth

When you’re walking alone
On the side of a road
And the waves in the grain
Make you feel unbound

Homewards, the auburn sky
Golden this summer light
Honed by the night bird’s cry
To the earth

When you wake up alone
The expanse of the sky
Makes the impossible
Seem a great deal less
Track Name: Gallop
I held the line
You left me there
It wasn’t a crime
To start of a beginner

What was the plan when you called it off ?
Was it the grind, fighting all the time ?
ooooh oooh

Some day we will know how it went
Some day we’ll tell of a new beginning
It was a crying shame when you did
Catch me off guard
Before I realized what I had done

I know how no one can be free
But, by now all these hours of dreaming
Are worn out

Time removes the tolls that I’ve paid
As I go on, a rock in the stream
Of the gallop of time
Track Name: A Dirge (feat. Marble Sounds)
Howled into the wind
An unfurling of words stowed away
Time lapses into the dusk
As I sit, alone

Now I know how you must've felt

I'll make my bed underground where I can smell the dirt
And I'll dream of leaves and the writhing of worms in the earth

Now I know how to roam the dark
Without senses

Though I'm none the wiser
I feel so much lighter
Alive and well
Knowing I am who I am
Track Name: Equinox
What have we done here ?
Is it all a lie ?
Are you still wondering how the yarn is spun ?
Caught in a mire of words
We can never unfold
How will we wake up to the horizon’s fire ?

Now that we both know that the line can be crossed
Are you still wondering how the yarn is spun ?
With the devil in the foreground across from me
Stealing pennies from the fountain before they sink

So, I will cross this sea
With my doubts and uncertainties

So now that we both know that the line can be crossed
Are you still wondering how the yarn is spun ?
Would you follow me into the billowing sea on a ship of fools ?
Drifting ever so slowly across the equinox

And I can’t be there
When you follow me in

So I’ll cross this sea
With my doubts and uncertainties
With the devil in the foreground across from me
Stealing pennies from the fountain before they sink
Could I leave it entirely up to these eyes in front of me ?
Is it all in my mind, or all in the signs in front of me?

So I’ll cross this sea
With my doubts and uncertainties
With the devil in the foreground across from me
Stealing pennies from the fountain before they sink

Would you follow me into the billowing sea on a ship of fools ?
Drifting ever so slowly towards an equinox
Track Name: Melee
I can now see how it grows
Somewhere out there, out of a fear
I can now see how it’s sown
Sung by men down and in need

How the worn are won
Blinded by their desperation
To find a way out
Of a bitter life’s vocation

When the summer ends
Will we have spent our innocence ?
Some say in the hour that men are born, the child is lost

Could we try to agree that it’s not in our nature to be unloved ?
Even when in the end that we harden in sadness for those we’ve lost
All the sorrow will not stand to last or stay our feet

Oh no, we cannot be
With this clamor all around here
Oh no we cannot leave
When this ends in a melee
Track Name: Thaw
The day that you disappeared
I knew you would reappear
There was nothing much but rustling leaves
But come spring, I could hear you call: "Here I am"

The way that you reappeared
As the sun fell upon the fields
I knew the place in which I had lived
Had meant no wandering around

Here I am
Track Name: Rove
Home is behind the world ahead I can't seem to settle in
In the dawn I wait for the sun with stars and bread

With my eyes closed I float like a swan
The light it is gold
In this early hour I could carry on
So, I will stroll through the snow
As I'm heading to the dawn

I wait for the sun with stars and bread
Not all those who wander are lost
My feet are strong

Among the pines I feel alive
And the woodland so quiet speaks to me
In frost covered lines drifting by
As I'm heading to the dawn

While I'm up high with mist tendrils caressing my eyes
I grow taller with each cold breath drawn
The tragedies below seem to fade before the dawn

Before the dawn I wait for the sun with stars and bread
Not all those who wander are lost
My feet are strong
Track Name: Whirl
I followed the shapes on the sea with my eyes
The sea and the air started reaching around
It was almost as if they were planning to merge

It comes close to me now
It’s a sight to behold
Feet sliding down
From the hill to the edge of the shore

The wind has a wave twisting up to the sky
And it’s inching its way to the mouth of the bay
Then it finally rides up the edge of the shore

It comes close to me now
It’s a sight to behold
Its force throws me down
From the hill to the edge of the shore

It all whirls, front to back
Debris flies left and right
On the waterspouts it trails

It has me running ‘round
Right back up the mound
But as I turn I see everything’s pristine
Track Name: Hunker
I’ve wandered in and out of time,
a ghost.
And, I’ve come to realize:
all goes
How does love remain, when you
are gone ?
Would it be sustained, if I
carried the pain ?

Though, I know now
I can’t see how
You are by me
And, I know now
I can see how
We are bodies
(On the cusp of life and death)

I’ve wandered in and out of sight
of the gold.
And, I’ve come to realize
nothing at all
What in life remains the task
at hand ?
If we glimmer but return
to sand ?

Though, I know now
I can’t see how
You are by me
And, I know now.
I can see how
We are bodies
On the cusp of life and death