When Jordan Klassen set out to write his sixth full-length record, Glossolalia, he tapped into a new creative well. In the midst of recording the record, he found himself continuing to write, coming away from the process with two distinct yet complementary bodies of work. Marginalia now rounds out the collection from this period. The Vancouver based singer-songwriter and producer composed Glossolalia mostly with guitar, creating a subtly blossoming record that perhaps nailed his “fairy folk for troubled times” approach better than ever before. The arrangements on Glossolalia were reduced to the bare essentials to support Klassen’s voice with minimal production. While troubles are not a thing of the past, times are now different, and thus, Marginalia is the other side of the musical coin. It is smoother, fuller, and more elegant than its predecessor.
Marginalia is about the edges of life, away from what is in the mainstream. Technically it is a writer’s term; where we make notes and write insights in the margins of a page. There may be footnotes or annotations, doodles and drawings, but the marginalia allows us to see things with a new understanding, and to make connections that may have gone unnoticed. Marginalia often comes from a stream of consciousness, where we uncover things that aren’t in the direct line of sight. They are what we see by the light of the moon rather than in direct sunlight; inspirations that may have come from the same place in our minds, but with a contrasting feel to them, like a photo negative.
In folklore, the moon is supernatural, affecting humans with its gravitational pull, causing magical transformations, and being blamed for peculiar behaviours. Similarly, Jordan wrestled with this album, creatively, directionally, and internally, questioning its purpose and direction. It has strong metaphysical overtones as a result. Interestingly, the record does not present as disjointed or as having sprung from a place of self doubt. Lead single “Cocoon” highlights this metaphor where Jordan states, “If love is a madness, then I am howling at the moon”. However, he’s not carried away by this legend, as he then counters and assures himself, “You’ve got facts, but I’ve got songs that sweep me away to where I am never wrong”.