This is one of the most beautiful and charming albums you will here. Nicolai's grip of the English language might not be all that one would want (he originates from Sweden, where he once was a professional footballer, but gave it up to make music instead), but it doesn't seem to matter because the music and the voice are so warm and welcoming. 'This Cloud Is Learning' is his first album to be released in Britain, and it is a truly compelling introduction to a very talented artist. The arrangements throughout are sparse and the vocals are intimate - it feels as though one is sitting there in the studio listening to him. There are some wonderfully melodic and moving songs on this album. His vocal tends to vary from the strangled tone of Van Morrison to a much softer and more engaging tone that reminds one of various introspective singer/songwriters; perhaps a good comparison would be Will Oldham in his quietest and most affecting moments. The highlight of the album is probably 'Butterflying Friend'; it's a wondrously melodic and capitivating piece, and contains a pastoral magic not often encountered in contemporary music. There is an innocent charm to this album which very few albums possess. The music appears to have no consciousness of the contemporary world with all its neuroses and troubles. It's in direct contrast to the kind of brutal urban music that tends to dominate these days. If you feel overwhelmed by the noise and hustle of the city and fancy a trip to the country, the easiest way is to put this album on. It will make you think that all is right with the world, and a beautiful tranquillity will pervade your being. Not many albums can do that. This is an album to cherish.