12 August 2013
Daníel Bjarnason - Over Light Earth
In new release news, we are chuffed to bits to announce the latest album from Daníel Bjarnason.
On this, his third album, Over Light Earth marks Daníel's first solo release since 2010's Processions, and third overall release after his and Ben Frost's SÓLARIS collaboration came out in 2011. On Over Light Earth, the intensity of Daníel's orchestral voice is captured through meticulous close-miking and multitracking, a recording process that sets this recording radically apart from that of conventional orchestral recordings.
The cover art for Over Light Earth was done by Winston Chmielinski. Check the high res version here. We are excited to be releasing the album on all formats including CD, digital and vinyl, which can all be pre-ordered today. Believe us when we say you are going to want the LP in your possession to understand how magnificent the final artwork is.
Over Light Earth comprises of three major works; the title work which was commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is Daníel's sonic nod towards the work of the so-called New York School of painters like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, whose canvases No. 9 (Dark Over Light Earth) and Number 1, 1949 inspired the two movements of Over Light Earth.
The second piece is aptly titled ‘Emergence’. The inexorable progresses of the underlying harmonies suggest a vast, preexisting form just coming into view, but while these harmonies keep steady somewhere beneath the audible surface of the piece, they’re manifested in a range of unstable attacks, hesitations and anticipations.
The third and final piece ‘Solitudes’, is an early work that is in fact Daníel’s first piano concerto, here reworked with electronics by Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost.
We are happy to reveal the tracklisting:
Over Light Earth I. Over Light Earth
Over Light Earth II. Number 1, 1949
Emergence I. Silence
Emergence II. Black Breathing
Emergence III. Emergence
Solitudes I. Holy
Solitudes II. Dance Around In Your Bones
Solitudes III. Echo & Pre-Echo
Solitudes IV. Selge Ruh
Solitudes V. T'aint No Sin
What the press says
This unearthly record by award-winning Icelandic artist Daníel Bjarnason is as ghostly and ethereal as the album artwork. Full-bodied soundscapes blend with half-harmonised snippets to create something complete, yet only partly tangible
It’s scarier than anything Bjarnason has done before, filled with the measured fury of a people who have had time to let their discontent really settle in.
More exciting are the clashing layers of shimmering strings and turbulent horns on the three-part Emergence, whose lumbering, ominous melody hits its conclusion without resolving the piece’s unsettling harmonies, making for a tension-riddled trip to the very end.
...the music often sounds as if it’s suspended in space; woodwinds and strings swirl around pointillistic, muted piano notes and clusters; swells of brass splotch a sonic canvas of pulsing strings that hints at a shimmering surface underpinned by both meditative calm and chaos.
It’s the kind of ambitious narrative neoclassical work which fans of Valgeir Sigurðsson and Johann Johannsson will doubtless enjoy, beautifully realised and emotionally rousing, swimming with life and drama and tension.
...stunning and definitive statement from a composer poised to make meaningful contributions to the symphonic repertoire for years to come
... this evening afforded the audience intimate access to one of the most exciting, thoughtful and inspired composers working today.
He’s a dynamic modern composer, one worth watching more closely.
like a slightly uneasy ride on LSD
...the music Daníel composes are instrumental soundscape pieces that take the listener on a spiritual journey.
With fierce intelligence confirmed, Bjarnason now seems primed for a romp through the rest of the 21st century.
This record is intentional, poignant, and brimming with profound vision.
...expect to see much more of Bjarnason’s music over the years ahead.
Slow but spellbinding…exploration of tonal and textural ambience.
This is a smart, sometimes exhilarating tribute to a challenging, heartbreaking and singular film.
Mostly strings—the frosty, crystalline sort that seem to only come out of Scandinavia—piano (deployed like its notes are diamonds), and only the slightest electronic textures, you’ll feel just as well the undefined but real threat of Sólaris’ mystery planet, however much you know the actual film.
This is an elegant, sometimes turbulent hour. Shortlisted for album of the year.
The beautifully sculpted results are subtle, sensuous and often majestic
Tense, grave, unsettling but also subtle, majestic and sensuous.
It grabs you not by the throat, but almost by your very essence.
“...extraordinary, grandiose and haunting score [...} Highly recommended for all fans of ambient and modern classical music.”
A nerve-fraying, tension-laden listen, Sólaris should be regarded as a triumph for both composers and as a very welcome added dimesnion to an already greatly-revered work of cinematic art.
SÓLARIS is one of the year’s most sinister song suites, a startling miasma of prepared piano, cutting chords and strings that seem to be strangling your speakers ever so slowly.
Shrouded in mystery and cloaked in melancholy, the album is an elusive beast.
...deeply introspective, nuanced and emotionally charged, Sólaris is a magnificent piece of modern classical music.
This alluring symphonic suite for string orchestra, prepared piano and guitars, from two Reykjavik buddies, made us want to turn off all the lights, run a bath and settle in for a long, healing winter hibernation. (On their Best Classical Albums Of 2011 list)
A powerful and dramatic treatment that effectively distills the film’s essence into abstract sound form.
In the end, you feel the simultaneous effect of a flash freeze and slow thaw, broken down and rebuilt from scratch. And then you hit “Play” again.
...a master stroke because it is its own expression, as much a representation of Bjarnason and Frost as it is of their interpretations of Tarkovsky’s film. In that, it stands as one of the best film scores of all time. And on its own, it is one of the most successful modern classical compositions you could hear.
...the rush of sensations and almost tactile quality make this album a worthy entity in its own right.
…this album is pretty damn good. Pretty, pretty damn good
The perfect collaboration of two masters of tension through minimalist, epiphanies through noise and chaos, and beauty through disconnection and isolation
Processions deserves to be [Bjarnason's] global breakthrough. It’s the sound of fire and instinct, the musical equivalent of a controlled burn. Perhaps all sounds to silence come, but thanks to Bjarnason, that sonic Armageddon seems a long distance away.
“Surely one of the most bombastic modern classical albums you’re likely to hear all year”.
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