Bedroom Community

Press Reviews for Architecture Of Loss

There are moments on the third album by Valgeir Sigurðsson where it seems the composer is about to take a dispiriting right turn into the world of the BBC crime thriller soundtrack - the union of mournful viola and lonely piano frequently seems tailor-made for a homicide detective's dark moment of self-reflection. Thankfully Sigurðsson, the head of Iceland's Bedroom Community label, which has incubated composers such as Ben Frost and Nico Muhly, steers his music into less hackneyed areas on this album, which features contributions from Muhly, violist Nadia Sirota and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily.

Of the most effective pieces, "Between Monuments", establishes a tense atmosphere with electrical interference crackling away beneath the scraping strings. It would sound better to these ears without piano, but the added found sounds, courtesy of Ismaily, help to ward off excessive tastefulness. Contemplative half-melodies predominate almost to the point of frustration, before in the last minute and a half it launches into a nightmarish rumble of low-end sound, before dying out, exhausted.

Even better, "Guardian At The Door" fades in on a black cloud drones from which dissolute strings partially emerge. There's no attack, just an ominous looming. The mood of part-concealed terror recalls cinematic chillers such as The Mist and The Fog, which leads me to wonder if Sigurðsson shares Ben Frost's unsnobbish obsession with genre cinema. "Erased Duet" is less enthralling, but its counterpart "Reverse Erased" blisters with a genuine sense of threat. Similarly, the popping, booming beats and boiler-room hisses of "Big Reveal" are brilliantly harrowing, and culminate in a calmly eerie outdo. The more subtle pieces prevent the album from becoming a one-dimensional journey into fear.

The Wire (September 14th 2012)

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Architecture Of Loss
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