Bedroom Community

Press Reviews for Architecture Of Loss

Architecture of Loss is the new album by Bedroom Community founder Valgeir Sigurðsson…

Built from a simple palette of viola, piano, hiss and crackles, it is immediately sparser and colder than previous Sigurðsson offerings – winter practically drips from its branches – there are great stretches of space, fissures open up between fragile viola lines and the piano figures.

Listen closer and there are the merest hints of percussion, buried under tracks like World Without Ground. There are smudges of static, smears of strings made elastic by the computer. The first three and three quarters of this album are highly detailed, contemporary chamber music – but that is not all Sigurðsson has to offer here. Between Monuments briefly accelerates into pounding drums, grainy overlapping string glissandi, before falling back into the hums and scrapes of Guardian at the Door – which leads the album into stranger waters. The gaps and chasms of the opening tracks are filled by electric pulses that the rest of the music dances around; high pitched fizzes punctuate the space.

Erased Duet offers a midpoint rest of pretty overlapped arpeggios, but the next track, Reverse Erased, with its discordant plucks, clashes and insistent rhythmic drive reveals the focused composition intent of this album – a sudden bassline propels the layers forwards, to be steadily wiped out by heavily processed drums. As a blast of beautiful unease, it works perfectly.

Swarms of processed clicks – as sharp and well placed as any Bretschneider cut – dominate the following music; reprising the upward spiralling string theme of the earlier World Without Ground, this album never feels programmatic, instead by shifting the focus from detail to detail, allows us to follow the arc of the whole, the start to the finish.

The gaps in the music, the fizzes and snaps of the processed sounds, match the type-stracted images of dancers on the sleeves. Architecture of Loss was composed for Stephen Petronio’s ballet (of the same name), then re-presented in album form, here. Within this context, we can draw parallels between the intensely focused Petronio choreography and the restraint on display by the musicians here. The spaces of each strand overlap and listen to each other. Snaps of sound match gestures by dancers, one constantly overtaking the other.

Alone, from the almost silent opening to the warm, brief, trombone chords of the coda, Architecture of Loss is a leap forwards in sound and form for Valgeir Sigurðsson, a massively confident statement, icily beautiful. Recommended!

John Boursnell

Fluid Radio (September 30th 2012)

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