October 24, 2016

LP: Lena Farrmo - Same River Twice

Walk into Lena Farrmo's world of wonder.

Colorado-based Lena Farrmo's LP, Same River Twice, stems from the Heraclitus quote, "Nobody ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and she is not the same woman,"but she adds a "feminist spin". I’ve seen Farrmo perform this album three times now, once at a coffee shop and twice on Colorado College’s campus. Every time is better than the last. The way Lena performs is like an opera for your soul, as half of the audience seems entranced and still while the other half have their eyes closed, swaying to the lulling music. Farrmo also rarely wears shoes when she performs and has a penchant for fun sock — most recently featuring little cartoon glasses of wine.

“The Ascent” opens the album, easing you into Farrmo’s world of wonder. By the end of the third minute of the song, you'll feel as if you've been sitting in the woods for hours. The overlapping sounds of the tin whistle with the guitar and lap steel movements sounds like the trees whistling and several species of birds singing along. To be quite honest, the birds would definitely sing along to her singing a la Cinderella if they could. While “Santa Fe Storm” is a pick me up from “The Ascent,” the lyrics and extended bridge with follower “After” maintain the radiant haze that I find myself in whenever I listen to Farrmo's music. She's able to move each listener through the album, going in and out of various tempos and beats. It is a constant change, one that is both comforting and uprooting at the same time. Within “Basement of my Mind,” Farrmo sings: “In the basement of my mind there is a door / A door that leads to an open desert / I save it there to keep me company / For when I am sad the dunes are always there.” Much of Farrmo’s album also evokes a sense of individuality within a larger collective. I've seen this first hand when she performs live; each person is in their own little world but collectively they're all experiencing the radiant haze that exists through Same River Twice.

While the feeling of unity is one of the goals of music, it's rarely achieved with such force. Farrmo flips that script, guiding listeners through a shared 37-minute meditative state. On "Nurse Log," she serenely sings, “A maple starts to grow from down inside / Osmosis of life will not hold back.” The song evokes a feeling of drifting — similar to the feeling of rocking in a hammock or the feeling right before you fall asleep for a quick nap and everything is still. I'm lucky enough to go to school with Farrmo and recently she told me that she uses scrapbooking as a means of brainstorming for her songs, a visual representation of ideas she wants in her album. The materials she uses range from concert tickets to Polaroid pictures to small leaves and foliage from the woods. The imagery of the woods is especially reminiscent throughout this album, both through Farrmo’s vocals but also through combinations in instrument layering, mirroring the sounds of the deep forest. I’m already looking forward to taking a walk this weekend in the fall air and listening to the album again.


Listen to Lena Farrmo on bandcamp.

Amelia Eskenazi is a feminist and gender studies and art student at Colorado College. In their free time, they enjoy collaging boxes, dying their hair at 2 am, and eating freeze pops in the shower. Their political pondering and rants can be found on Twitter and their photographic outbursts can be found on Instagram at photobscura_ and a_eskenazi.