- No Nights Dark Enough I. flow
- No Nights Dark Enough II. infamy sings
- No Nights Dark Enough IV. fear and grief and pain
- No Nights Dark Enough V. learn to contemn light
- 1875 I. waterborne
- 1875 II. in the dead of winter
- 1875 III. displaced
What the press says
Dissonance is a masterful piece of work.
The expansive title track makes a direct reference to Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19, commonly called the “Dissonance” quartet (thanks to the overlapping, chromatic lines that are present during its opening). Valgeir’s intention was to stretch Mozart’s initial gambit into a much longer piece. As an experiment, this seems promising.
That push and pull informs the melodic—and often dark—Dissonance. To gain control over every element of the album’s eight compositions, Sigurðsson recorded string players in small groups before layering the audio to create a full orchestra. The resulting sound is both lush and surreal, with Sigurðsson likening the result to walking around a concert hall during a performance—zooming in on whatever sound catches your ear.
It can be like tasting Campari or oysters for the first time. Many people might have a knee-jerk reaction and shudder or spit it out, but then gradually discover depth and richness in the taste and texture. You begin to sense the harmony and noise that on first listen can seem impossible to navigate, and start hearing further and deeper into it.
Dissonance embodies, almost by definition, the idea of things falling apart, a feeling of unrest, of issues unresolved, of disagreement. Sigurðsson offers that and more over the course of three symphonic works that are by turns dense and bleak yet magisterial. Don’t bother searching for even the slimmest shaft of sunlight.
Valgeir’s solo work could be categorized as classical, but the use of electronic technology makes it difficult to pigeonhole. ‘Dissonance’ is his first solo album since 2012’s ‘Architecture of Loss’, and features large-scale works drawing inspiration from apocalyptic themes, while also displaying his eye for detail and texture.
The result might evoke the smeared and impenetrable effect of György Ligeti’s “micro-polyphony.” Tension builds until 14 minutes in, when there is a breakthrough of warm consonant sunlight.
Valgeir Sigurðsson created true peace in Dissonance. It’s not easy to make an album so full of emotion but so empty at the same time.
Tension permeates the work in the way it juxtaposes the elegant sonority of the viola da gamba and the dissonant effect produced by the multiple pitches, as well as in the constant fluctuation between an adherence to classical form on the one hand and a glacial deconstruction of it on the other.
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On the web
- Find out more on Valgeir Sigurðsson’s website
- Check out Valgeir Sigurðsson’s page on Facebook
- Follow Valgeir Sigurðsson on Twitter