Big Red Machine is the collaborative project between Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National). It started in 2008 by Dessner, who sent Vernon instrumental ideas for a collaborative album via MySpace. Together, Vernon and Dessner have created a sound that bears close to Bon Iver’s most recent work on 22, A Million: experimental art-pop, a deviation from their initial folk rock sound.
“Forest Green” is an electric guitar and synth-driven track, repetitive in nature but all the while expansive and progressive. The focus of the song takes a careful balance between the wavering guitar riff and the vocals.
Justin sings in his characteristic falsetto, crooning different iterations of “I was gonna give you all of my time,” before delving deeper into cryptic lyricism. Still, it’s less about the lyrics than the intangible feelings of atmosphere and mood, a place to get lost in the arbitrary textures and distorted vocal layers.