I Am Oak – Nowhere or Tammensaari

I Am Oak – Nowhere or Tammensaari

I Am Oak is Thijs Kuijken, or Thijs Kuijken is I Am Oak or, well… you get the point. Besides being a talented photographer (he for example did the artwork for Moss’ Ornaments album), he used to be the only member of I Am Oak. However, the songwriter for this Dutch folk/indie/acoustic/experimental/ambient/I-don’t-know-where-to-categorize-this-outfit now has a band supporting him in his slow and cold, yet warm and touching music.

The ‘Nowhere or Tammensaari’ was recorded within two weeks by the band in a house in snowy Finland whilst absorbing ‘their picturesque surroundings’.
Thijs explained the meaning of the album title as “…a place that is constantly changing and moving; that is ‘Nowhere’. This title refers to the place where the I Am Oak songs originate. An alternative for this ‘Nowhere’ is ‘Tammensaari’, which can be translated as ‘Island of oaks’…

Famine, the album opener, is a folky acoustic track in which Thijs’ remarkable voice flows into multiple harmonies along the song, picking up the pace before slowing down into a flow of warmth.
Same accounts for the second track Grown, with its playful electric riff and acoustic finger picking.

Lead single Palpable was picked up by BBC Radio 6 and received some decent airtime. The track opens hauntingly, while it takes the listener on a trip, before drowning slowly and calmly in the repetitive riff.
Have a listen to the track below.

The track Roam feels like one of those dreams where you can’t seem to run; the tempo changes make you float, roaming around in an empty white landscape. I might need to see a doctor or a shrink I guess…

Drooom‘s piano intro makes you think it might be a ballad, however, the 1:35 long track changes its atmosphere completely in the second half with a cool distorted guitar sound.

As I said in the introduction, it is difficult to categorize I Am Oak. The songs on the album all have similarities, beside the obvious, but it still feels like a box of chocolates. Every single one of them gives you a different taste, some taste good, some taste delicious. Some last less than a minute, while another will last you over 5 minutes… And before you know it, the box is empty and all 12 songs have passed and the journey has come to an end.
Now can you fight the temptation to press play again?

Verdict: 3.5/5
I Am Oak is not an album you can just listen to on your way to work or school. It is an album that needs your time and attention to make sure you can fully value its beauty.
I just don’t know if a lot of people are prepared to open themselves to this experience, although I highly recommend it!

I Am Oak – Nowhere or Tammensaari has been released on July 2nd on Hit Or Heist. You can order the album from Heist or Hit’s website.
For more information on I Am Oak, head over to their Facebook page or website.

Track List:
I Am Forest
Vares Varas
Everything In Waves



About author

Timothy FSM 621 posts

Converted to dEUS-ism in 2001. Keen on screaming Friday Friday Friday once a week on Twitter. Might convince you not to talk about U2.

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