Wednesday, March 31, 2010

REVIEW: Valgeir Sigurðsson - Draumalandið

7.5 out of 10

Valgeir Sigurðsson is one of the staple acts on Bedroom Community, Ben Frost's label. The music he creates is Classical music meshed with crunchy electronic samples (much like Ben Frost's music, only a little more organic/Classical). He's worked with Bjork, Mum, Kronos Quartet, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, and Nico Muhly to name a few. And for his latest release (2nd full length) he was asked to score an Icelandic film titled "Draumalandið", which is a documentary about the exploitation of Iceland's natural resources. Yes, his resume is indeed quite impressive, but he is only just beginning.

The overall mood for the film seems to be dreary, and somewhat "dream like" as the title suggests however "Draumalandið" is more than just a score, it is warning to future/parallel societies. For the film's score Valgeir Sigurðsson has chosen the path of abase, dark, and ominous sounds accompanied by strings, horns, piano, minimal electronics, and a few drum pieces that sort of bring to mind Steve Reich. The whole composition is very forward moving, with a "slowly melting" feel to it. Is it contradictory to be fast and slow at the same time? Maybe. But I think that is the point Mr. Sigurðsson is trying to make with this piece.. All of our forward/fast thinking decisions are slowly corrupting and decaying environments around us. We never take a moment to look at our surroundings because we are so focused on our monetary goals. And it's because of these decisions that are world may be doomed. Classical music can be a hard thing to review/explain. There are so many sounds/moods/ambiances within that will give each listener their own personal experience. I do feel with this piece the message seems pretty obvious and it's something we should all take a moment to sit back and think about. I love the music, I love the message, and I love that Valgeir Sigurðsson was chosen to create such a dramatic "environment" as only he could. If you're at all a fan of the genre consider this a must.

If you're a sucker for serene/quiet string pieces that swell and buckle over and under forward thinking electronic atmospheres you're in for a treat. Recommended.

Standout Tracks: Dreamland, Laxness, Hot Ground Cold, Draumaland (love the piano on this track -- kind of reminds me of Philip Glass), Nowhere Land, Helter Smelter

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