Local Listen – Lief Sjostrom Plays a Darker Christmas Carol on New EP

This is an entry in an ongoing show for 303 Magazine, which will provide a selection of local album reviews. It is our aim to emphasize the abilities of musicians, whether specialists to the industry or newcomers. Like the rings, the album could be something we simply haven & rsquo or fresh;t possess the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Take a look at previous entries in the series here

It s also the time of this year in our beloved Denver and all across the world, for everybody except Lief Sjostrom. A cellist, guitarist, composer and personal instructor residing in Denver, Sjostrom has released The Longest Night EP, a album of their own, personal spin on the hottest and well-known Christmas holiday songs. Since music is simply another art form of saying, this album was the perfect opportunity for Sjostrom to express his feelings about the “commercialized joy” of this Christmas season. And he did in just six yet beautiful Christmas songs.

Sjostrom has been residing locally because his transfer to Denver in 2008, and since then he has recorded and/or played PrettyMouth, Edison, Sawmill Joe, King Cardinal, Covenhoven, The Patient Zeroes, Florea, Chad Price, Tyto Alba, Corsicana Brianna Straut, Poor Me and The Dead Orchids. On the side, he’s become a personal instructor giving cello and guitar courses. You can find his compositions placed in commercials, and Sjostrom has even written the music to the score of a movie by photographer Adam Reynolds.

Lief Sjostrom

Art by Melanie Steinway

Back in the spring of 2017 Sjostrom released his first solo EP, Her Prayers Sound Like Warnings, and just last July he released his initial full-length solo album, Counting Breaths.  And Sjostrom has been focusing on movie. We were told by him, “movie scoring has been since starting my project of neo-classical compositions nearly two decades back, and I believed Christmas music would be a useful addition to my catalogue. ”

Additionally, Sjostrom had had even more incentive to record the Christmas music. Setting off his solo career and many decades before the production of The Longest Night, Sjostrom had been asked to create the agreements for almost all of the music listed on the album. Fellow musician Brennan Mackey had requested that Sjostrom perform the arrangements to open the first annual King Cardinal Holiday Show.

Lief Sjostrom

Courtesy of Lief Sjostrom

The album, which he refers to as a “ode to the time of the year,” features Sjostrom and his cello. Concerning the album and his experimentation with Christmas music, Sjostrom voiced that “a lot of Christmas music attempts to outshine the darkened and quiet surroundings of winterbut I wanted the album to adopt the dark and quiet elements of those melodies that are centuries old. ” The Longest Night EP includes six songs — “Huron Carol,” “The First Noel,” “We 3 Kings,” “Silent Night,” “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel” and “Still Still Still. ” Each is superbly composed and provides a full display of Sjostrom’s abilities as a cellist. These variations of the favorite holiday songs are simple, uncooked and strip away all the overwhelming glee that often spoils the initial structures.

Have a listen to The Longest Night EP beneath, and catch Sjostrom live this holiday season — on Thursday, December 13 in a Coming Sofar occasion, on Friday, January 4 in Lost Lake with Brianna Straut and on Sunday, February 24 for a dinner series in Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox.

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