It’s with great pleasure that we can share this doublesided single from Julia Meijer. Although she will be a new name to most of you we don’t believe that will be for very long. Listen to Ocean/England below which we’ve also chosen as a double Song of the Day.
Having moved to the UK from Sweden 3 years ago, Julia is a singer/songwriter whose music is simultaneously expansive and intimate. Whereas Ocean evokes the sort of emotional sincerity and dream world, wide eyed psychedelia that artists such as Julia Holter have built careers on, and features some brooding ambient synth layers courtesy of keyboard player Sebastian Reynolds, England nods towards the parochial mood of psychedelic folk rock acts such as The Incredible String Band and Vashti Bunyan and is built around the chiming guitar layers of Andrew Warne and the rolling rhythms of Guillemots drummer/percussionist Greg Stewart. Both tracks are melancholic and intricately arranged, though the tones are quite different, resulting in a truly doublesided single. The lyrics of Ocean are based on Hav (ocean/sea) by Icelandic poet Steinn Steinarr. Steinarr, who lived between 1908 and 1958, is one of the most respected Icelandic poets of all time, and is still a national hero there, although almost entirely unknown outside of his native country.
Recorded with Richard Neuberg of legendary dark folk band ViaRosa at his Strawhouse studio in North Oxfordshire, Julia explains how “as England is about my impressions of the English countryside, Ocean is about my impressions of Sweden. To me, Sweden (in contrast to Oxfordshire) is all about the sea and lakes, and I could really imagine the sense of feeling so close to the ocean that you feel at one with it”.
Since moving to the UK, Julia has played a range of shows in Oxford and London, becoming known for her performances in galleries, churches, pubs and cafes in the Oxford area – her most memorable perhaps being the Andy Warhol/William Morris exhibition launch event at the Modern Art Oxford and to a packed Folk Barn at Wilderness Festival. Her live band consists of Sebastian Reynolds (keys), Greg Stewart of Guillemots (drums), Andrew Warne (guitar), and her sister Josefin Meijer (backing vocals). England also features a special guest appearance from acclaimed Oxford bass player Phil Hanaway-Oakley.
With her atmospheric brand of hymnal dream folk already capturing ears and hearts across the Oxfordshire area, Julia Meijer offers a rare voice in the contemporary world of singer-songwriters. As Ocean/England perfectly illustrates, she is an artist who is diverse, evocative, and totally captivating.
Photos by Oliver Holms