Not gonna lie, the heart of this particular description writer sinks when he gets a record in by an ‘Icelandic sound artist/composer’. You can thank the Olafur Arnaldses and Sigur Roses of this world for eroding any confidence he once had in that particular phrase. As such, his hopes weren’t high for Bjarni Gunnarsson’s Lueur LP. So consider him pleasantly surprised when it turned out that the four tracks here were a damn sight better than the self-congratulatory hold music of his peers. This is challenging, unsettling electroacoustic composition that uses every inch of the speakers.
LP £13.99 TTRLP013
LP on Tartaruga. Limited edition of 200 copies with sleeves screen-printed in two colours on Flora Tabacco 350gsm stock.
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Electroacoustic composition that “uses every inch of the speakers”. Well, our description writer didn’t lie and I’m not gonna lie either -- this is not going to be the most easy of listens for you, (for what remains of) this year. Using every conceivable space between my ears -- that’s a lot of space, so kudos to the artist -- is this record from Bjarni Gunnarsson, a sound artist / composer from Iceland, if you hadn’t already guessed. He’s called it ‘Lueur’ (translating to ‘Glow’ from French, I did have to internet search for that little nugget), and it’s an appropriately luminous exploration of the panoramic audible range. Testing this latest pair of reviewer ‘phones to their limits, if nothing else.
A world and a plethora of synthetic and organic sounds await the listener -- and I’m only halfway through the opening track ‘Prisme’ -- all computer generated. The record consists of four compositions in all, the product of constantly unfolding and unpredictable processes. The path it follows is its own -- nice for computers to be given their autonomy -- it’s interesting to hear how sounds develop and entangle with each other, and the places they may yet don’t always quite reach, before shooting off into unchartable tangents. There’s a lot of textural detail within these grooves and plenty of potential for confusion in its human audience (this one, anyway) -- but this is certainly an occasion when ‘challenging’ listening can bring its rewards.
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- Lueur by Bjarni Gunnarsson
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