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DISSONANCE

Catalog Number: HVALUR28

Released: April 21 2017

Buy CD €14.99 | Download €10 | LP €22

  1. Dissonance
  2. No Nights Dark Enough I. flow
  3. No Nights Dark Enough II. infamy sings
  4. No Nights Dark Enough IV. fear and grief and pain
  5. No Nights Dark Enough V. learn to contemn light
  6. 1875 I. waterborne
  7. 1875 II. in the dead of winter
  8. 1875 III. displaced
History freely dilates and collapses on Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Dissonance, his first solo release since 2012. Its three large-scale works are haunted by the old Western tradition, infused with the ethereal workings of electronics and sound manipulation. 
 
Dissonance treads elegantly along a fine line between traditional symphonic organicism and the fissures of the faltering structures of reality. It takes forward Sigurðsson's typically expansive, panoramic writing, and elevates it to a perpetual construction and deconstruction of time and space. 
 
These are hardly his first experiments with the archaic technology of classical instruments, but here the distance between past and present is precisely what the music itself is designed to explore, and to distort. 
 
Recorded and produced between September 2015 and November 2016 at Greenhouse Studios, Dissonance is disarmingly human, reflecting the most extreme four years of Sigurðsson’s life full of ecstatic joy and deep sorrow. Dissonance is a personal and collective musical treatise to explore and question a world that is collapsing under its internal dissonances. 
 
The recording process on Dissonance incorporates an orchestral recording technique that Sigurðsson has been developing for some years now, where he breaks up the orchestra and records each of its sections separately. Layer after layer he records performances by collaborators Liam Byrne and Reykjavík Sinfonia. A handful of string players and just one of each of the orchestra's instruments are then multiplied to create an imaginary orchestra. This method enables Sigurðsson's complete control over all the details and nuances, and the trade-off for the time-consuming process is a truly unique sounding ensemble that is at the composer's disposal for further electronic manipulation. This also results in an elastic palette of sound for the live performance version of Dissonance which Sigurðsson will take to the stage in 2017, alongside Liam Byrne (on strings) and visuals created by the Antivj collective.
 
Releases April 21, 2017

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.

Seth Colter Walls — Pitchfork (April 25th 2017) ★★★★★★★ Read all reviews

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.

Laura Studarus — Bandcamp (April 25th 2017) Read all reviews

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.

Richard Allen — A Closer Listen (April 25th 2017) Read all reviews

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.

Tom Huizenga — NPR Music (April 25th 2017) Read all reviews

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.

Steindór Grétar Jónsson — The Reykjavík Grapevine (April 25th 2017) Read all reviews

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.

Peter Ellman — Exclaim! (April 28th 2017) ★★★★★★ Read all reviews

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.

Dylan Yadav — Immortal Reviews (April 28th 2017) Read all reviews

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.

Textura (April 28th 2017) Read all reviews

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