8/10 Mike Staff review, 26 September 2013
Here’s the second solo album from Daniel Bjarnason, the Icelandic composer who you may know from his collaborations with the likes of Ben Frost, Sigur Ros and Valgeir Sigurdsson. This album collects three major pieces, ‘Over Light Earth’, ‘Emergence’ and ‘Solitudes’.
The first is a sweeping neoclassical piece commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a stirring two-parter with dramatic string swoops, brass swells and muscular piano which bound and swirl unpredictably in graceful somersaults. It’s quite cinematic but satisfyingly chaotic.
‘Emergence’ has similar neoclassical orchestration but slowly swells and ebbs with less of the dramatic u-turns of the previous piece. Still pretty theatrical when it gets going, though, with brass and piano and timpanis booming away over shimmering panicked strings before the final movement eases down into gentle muted swells of heartstring-tugging melody.
It’s the kind of ambitious narrative neoclassical work which fans of Valgeir Sigurdsson and Johann Johannsson will doubtless enjoy, beautifully realised and emotionally rousing, swimming with life and drama and tension. The final piece ‘Solitudes’ takes up the final five tracks and is a little more avant garde and challenging than the first two, with complex piano tinkling, intermittent bursts of strings and some unusual percussive sounds. It’s certainly the most challenging half of the album but still quite ambitious and grandiose.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Over Light Earth by Daniel Bjarnason
Get alerted to new stock from this artist / label.