Two albums from two different corners of the musical spectrum offer a true sense of a story for us to immerse in.
Amiina :: Fantômas (Mengi)
Amiina is well known for its work with Sigur Rós but also for its full length solo outputs and EPs. Originally a string quartet, formed by four girls (Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir, Hildur Ársælsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir and Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir) at the Reykjavík College of Music, further down the road a sextet after the official joining of drummer Magnús Trygvason Eliassen and electronic artist Kippi Kaninus in 2009, and these days a quintet. The project’s latest concoction is a fantastic new album called Fantômas. Yes, there is a connection to the 1913 French silent crime film of the same title, as the press release states: “Originally composed as a live score to a silent masterpiece from 1913, Amiina’s members decided right from the start that the music would also be able to stand on its own, independent of the visual narrative.”
And indeed, thanks to its instrumental nature and the eccentric and highly expressive execution of the project members, the music can firmly stand on its own. It serves as a sonic coloring book for our minds to fill with colors, a potion that can take the listener to all kinds of adventures through the far-flung regions of the imagination. Each and every adventure will be full of sorcery, mysticism and captivating struggles between darkness and light. The music is so evocative, it moves, unfolds and sparkles with a theatrical grace and an invitingly warm cinematic charm. This is contemporary, folk-infused experimental chamber music at its most daringly creative form.
Ryan Teague :: Site Specific (King Tree)
Composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Ryan Teague, known for his experimental, ambient and electroacoustic work on Village Green, Type and Sonic Pieces, returns to the musical arena with his most innovative album yet, via his own imprint and backed up by a full band. There’s something very arresting about the way the eight compositions on Site Specific behave. They reveal their allure and subtleties in a provocatively restrained manner. Slowly but surely they put you under a spell, a powerful spell you don’t want to break free from. Production wizardry and peculiar use of instruments intensify and sharpen the warm emotional core and atmospheric mystic glow of the music. Instead of letting the wonders of modern technology suck the human spirit, Teague expertly uses them as strong magic tools to maintain, enhance and smooth the heartfelt deliverance. Coupled with an imaginative approach, layers of guitar, electronics, bass clarinet, Rhodes piano, cello, flugelhorn, drums and percussion merge into something crystallized in form and fluid in movement, futuristic, jazz-infused electronica that captures the mind and soul.
Both albums are also available on Anost.