“Holocene” is a song by Bon Iver (a.k.a. Justin Vernon), a man who proves that beards and falsettos aren’t incompatible. It’s a lovely, slow-burning track, built around a looped acoustic guitar and skittery percussion…the crescendo at 4:40 still gets me every time. Here’s the equally jaw-dropping video, shot in the Icelandic wilds:
The Holocene is the name of the Earth’s current geological ‘epoch’, which began around 12,000 years ago at the end of our planet’s last major glacial period. The entire history of human civilisation has been played out during the Holocene, from our nomadic hunter-gatherer ancestors through to today’s modern society.
Talking about the song, Justin Vernon said: “Our lives feel like these epochs, but really we are dust in the wind. But I think there’s a significance in that insignificance…” The lyrics are about those moments when you feel humbled by the bigger picture (“And at once I knew I was not magnificent…I could see for miles, miles, miles”).