Intimacy and encouragement in the wake of tragedy
Following her recent October release, Norwegian born artist Ane Brun released another poignant and heartfelt album by the name of How Beauty Holds The Hand Of Sorrow. As can be assumed from its incredibly elegant title, this collection is one of reflection, exploring themes of heartache, affection and contemplation laced with an emotional self-examination. Both How Beauty Holds The Hand Of Sorrow and After the Great Storm, Brun’s October 2020 release, were written following the heart-wrenching death of her father. By that knowledge it would be assumed that both albums are very similar, however, the two collections manage to be entirely different, while both are astoundingly beautiful.
How Beauty Holds The Hand Of Sorrow was written before the pandemic, yet it holds themes that are relevant to it and helpful to the situation, for the album induces a relaxed state of mind. Through this collection, Brun explores new techniques and styles of music, focusing mainly on piano and acoustic guitar. The collection is split into two main instrumental drives, the tunes “Song For Trill And Tom,” “Meet You At The Delta” and “Breaking the Surface” are gripped by acoustic guitar, and “Last Breath, “Closer,” “Trust,” “Gentle Wind of Gratitude,” “Lose My Way” and “Don’t Run and Hide” are seized by the elegant and melodic piano.
The piano-driven pieces begin with gentle notes from the instrument followed by Brun’s soothing voice introducing the themes of the album. Brun’s wistful and dreamy lyrics guide her vocals to match the delicate piano notes. The acoustic guitar-guided pieces feel jazzier, offering an iridescent and buoyant beat that keeps her vocals steady. The album concludes with her piano version of the piece “Don’t Run and Hide,” which premiered in her preceding album After the Great Storm. The original piece itself is relaxed and sentimental, and her piano version present in this album is a magnificent reminder of the calming nature of the original.
Whereas Ane Brun’s first album following her five-year silence is fiery and passionate, How Beauty Holds The Hand Of Sorrow is more laid back and relaxed, still managing the same intense and effective theme as its predecessor. Both collections are sophisticated and vulnerable, and generate an experience that is warm and loving, deserving to be cherished by the listener.