Bedroom Community

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25 October 2016

Bedroom Community at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival

Bedroom Community is celebrating it's tenth anniversary with a special collaborative concert at Harpa. Ben Frost, Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson together with the entire label roster and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra will grace the stage at Harpa on the 3rd November. *​

 

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18 August 2016

Keep In Touch - Out Now

Nico Muhly is a virtuoso of keeping in touch, a hub for the vast network of friends and collaborators around the world that he's constantly checking in on with with personal or musical questions or scandalously inappropriate humor. Even when he is the only person awake in a hotel room in the middle of the night on a strange continent, there is someone, somewhere, that he can ping—What's going on? What's happening? How about now?—to satisfy his his need for human connection.

Keep in Touch, especially in its original version, was premised on the fear of never quite managing to make that connection. Its two soloists—violist Nadia Sirota and vocalist Anohni, of Antony and the Johnsons—were recorded separately, so that Anohni was virtually present, her part constructed from pass after pass of vocal improvisations, while Nadia's was added later, all in one long, live take.

But in reality, Nico's connection with the musicians on Keep in Touch—not just Nadia and Anohni, but also electronic musician Valgeir Sigurðsson, who realized and recorded the 2006 release—was never really broken. It was one of Nico's earliest collaborations with these singular musicians, with whom he has returned to the studio many times in the intervening decade. Nadia especially remains one of Nico's closest friends, even as their ever-more-hectic working schedules means that they're more likely to see each other IRL about once a month, rather than once a week.

The Alarm Will Sound version of Keep in Touch here was created by another of Nico's close friends, AWS percussionist Chris Thompson, who has managed to approximate every one of Valgeir's samples and Anohni's vocalizations, no matter how seemingly inimitable, for live performance. In a sense, it is of a piece with AWS's transcriptions of Aphex Twin or of the Beatles' musique concrète "Revolution 9," offering a new perspective on the compositional craft that went into an electronic piece by connecting it to the tradition of notated music. Here, a work for viola and tape becomes a miniature viola concerto for Nadia, Chris and their Alarm Will Sound bandmates.

When Nico had the opportunity to write a bona fide viola concerto, there was no question that the piece would be premiered by Nadia, whose input has influenced Nico's writing throughout their history of intimate collaboration. And Nadia points out that Nico's compositions, in particular Keep in Touch, have influenced her playing: Valgeir's unforgiving recording of those sessions, actually designed to highlight the flaws in her sound, encouraged her to play more boldly and transparently—"to show my work," she says, in what has become one of the defining features of her style.

And so Nico Muhly's Viola Concerto demands that the performer do exactly that, through an immense range of highly exposed material. The piece demands a virtuosity of expression, forcing the viola to navigate extremes of register and the huge leaps between them, or to freight a naked, sustained note with rapidly changing musical and psychological dynamics. The piece's emotional climax is arguably not the final movement's thunderous tutti playing of the full symphony orchestra, but poignant, soliloquy-like unaccompanied cadenza in which the viola attempts to recover between those outbursts. It's a moment of terrible loneliness Nadia likens to a private prayer. And that prayer, as the orchestra picks up the material from the viola, seems to be answered—but only briefly, before the piece descends into panic once again.

While the piece may have a tragic ending, as Nadia believes it does, this concerto's very existence suggests a far less lonesome narrative for its real-life creators. Listen to the inquisitive slide of her fingers up the neck of the fiddle throughout the Viola Concerto, and compare it to similar moments in Keep in Touch: the concerto is full of these musical signatures, what Nadia would call friendly "in-jokes" if the extensive documentation of her professional relationship with Nico hadn't already let the whole world in on them. This recording is a public exchange of love letters between two friends, a document of two artists growing up—and maturing—together, to create the most affecting and profound collaborations of their intertwined musical lives.

Buy the album on Bandcamp.

Tourdates

03.10. Bremen Theater - Copenhagen

04.10. UT Connewitz - Leipzig 

05.10. Paradiso - Amsterdam

06.10. Colston Hall - Bristol

07.10. Barbican - London

03.11. Iceland Airwaves - Reykjavík

Interviews

A small interview series with Nadia about "Keep In Touch".

Nadia speaks with NPR.

15 August 2016

Whale Watching Tour begins October 2016

In Celebration of Bedroom Community's 10th Anniversary in 2016, a number of our artists will be touring Europe for a collective "Whale Watching Tour". This upcoming run of intermittent concerts marks the second Whale Watching Tour, and the first since a European adventure in 2010 that saw the tour disrupted by the infamous ashcloud spewed out of Eyjafjallajökull, and resulted in the documentary film Everything Everywhere All The Time.

Each run of shows, or individual concerts, is customized and curated by Bedroom Comunity's founder Valgeir Sigurðsson, the producer behind all of the label's output. The lineup of these concerts is flexible and can vary greatly from show to show. Typically, 6-10 musicians share the stage in what is a scalable, fluid 90 - 120 minute showcase of music that spans the Bedroom Community catalog, and introduces unreleased or specifically rearranged pieces as well as classics from the repertoire.

They will also deliver during Iceland Airwaves a very special performance together with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra in Harpa, Reykjavik. 

You can join us on these dates:

-10/01/2016 Sacrum Profanum Festival - Krakow * ^
-10/03/2016 Bremen Theater - Copenhagen *
-10/04/2016 UT Connewitz - Leipzig *
-10/05/2016 Paradiso - Amsterdam *
-10/06/2016 The Lantern - Bristol *
-10/07/2016 Barbican - London * + ^
-11/03/2016 Iceland Airwaves Festival - Harpa - Reykjavik * + ^
-04/17/2017 Walt Disney Hall - Los Angeles 

Valgeir SigurðssonDaníel BjarnasonNadia SirotaJodie Landau, Liam Byrne, Sæeunn Þorsteinsdóttir

Sam Amidon

Nico Muhly

15 August 2016

Valgeir Sigurðsson & Nico Muhly - Scent Opera

The Scent Opera, a strange olfactory & music collaboration that dates back to 2009, is the first release on Bedroom Community’s HVALREKI digital-series. Written by Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson for Green Aria: A Scent Opera. ‘An opera for your nose’ by Stewart Matthew and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. Premiered at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in August 2009, this is the first time the recording has been released.

The opera’s premise is that a sequence of smells guides us through a oblique parable about industrialisation, through short episodic bursts of information. Some smells are dirty, like the rubber of a train in Paris, and others are classically blended harmonically well-rounded scents. Occasionally, a clean, neutral, pure sound arrives as a little flute-scented garden which should have the effect of clearing the chaos of the surrounding music (and, indeed, smells).

Nadia Sirota and Helgi Hrafn Jónsson join us as two of the essential voices that bind the narrative together. The multivalent collaboration yielded many surprising results: a 14-minute score that is funny, aggressive, shape-shifting, electronic, acoustic, and strange.

HVALREKI:

is a new series of digital releases from Bedroom Community. Stripping away visual design, packaging and manufacturing processes, HVALREKI offers music that lands beyond our strictly curated HVALUR album series. In Icelandic, hvalur means "whale" and hvalreki translates as "beached whale". The rarest and mostprecious of finds, hvalreki could sustain an entire village through winter. With so many special projects thriving in Bedrooom Community's waters, we invite fans to share our HVALREKI.

Listen exclusively via Clash here - and buy the album here.

12 January 2016

Ben, Nico, Valgeir & Sam - The Whale Watching Tour

In celebration of our 10th Anniversary this year, the three founders of Bedroom Community : Valgeir Sigurðsson, Ben Frost, and Nico Muhly, join fellow Community artists Sam Amidon, Nadia Sirota, Borgar Magnason, Una Sveinbjarnardóttir, and Helgi Jónsson on a Whale Watching Tour of the United States in March and April.

“The Whale Watching Tour is an opportunity to manifest what we, as a record label and a collective of disparate musical personalities, do behind the closed doors of the studio. To create something uniquely belonging to the live experience from source material that is very familiar to us. These shows are fuelled by joyful energy and appreciation for each other but also tension, blood and sweat that makes it all the more rewarding at the end of the day.” - VALGEIR SIGURÐSSON

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Categories

Latest Releases

Keep In Touch
Released on 30 September 2016
CD, Digital
Order now

you of all things
Released on 2 October 2015
CD, Digital
Order now

Folie à Deux
Released on 20 July 2015
CD, Digital
Order now

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