Bedroom Community

Press Reviews for Ekvílibríum

Bedroom Community curator, revered producer, engineer, composer, mixologist and A&R man, Valgeir Sigurðsson is one talented individual. Check through your record collection, the chances are you own a Sigurðsson produced album and don't even know it. From the leftfield electronica of Damiak to the Mercury Music Prize nominated sounds of Maps, Sigurðsson touches on all bases with his sought after production skills.

Múm, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Björk and CocoRosie have all, at some point in their careers, passed through his custom built Greenhouse Studios in Iceland. Sigurðsson influence doesn't end there though, he is also credited on the Being John Malkovich score and there are strong rumours flying about of a future collaboration with Vashti Bunyan.

How he found the time to record and produce his spell-binding debut solo album, "Ekvílibríum" is anyone's guess. His Bedroom Community imprint follow the release of Ben Frost's excellent "Theory of Machines" (read our review) and Nico Muhly's neo-classical "Speaks Volumes" with this richly textured album.

Using his extensive friends list, Sigurðsson was able to draft in a number of renowned musicians during the recording process. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy turns up on "Ekvílibríum", along with Bad Seed Warren Ellis, Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables and Machine Translations. "Ekvílibríum" is one of the most delightfully diverse releases of 2007 thus far. However, unlike some collaborative projects (U.N.K.L.E. springs to mind) the guest musicians do not dominate each track. Instead, their influence is of a more subtle nature, less up front, augmenting the ebb and flow of the album, while complimenting Sigurðsson recognizable production skills.

Both "Kin" and "Wintersleep" are "Ekvílibríum" stand-out's. The former, an achingly beautiful cinematic ballad featuring Bonnie 'Prince' Billy 's dulcet tones, sends shivers down the spine with its mournful string orchestration and cascading chord arrangements. "Wintersleep" incorporates Dawn McCarthy's enticing vocals into a melodramatic suite full of production trickery. The lyrical content adds to its ethereal charm with McCarthy suggesting that we join her "in this wintersleep/ the land (that) dreams".

Such beautiful compositions are contrasted wonderfully by tracks like the dark-ambient glitch sounds of opener "A Symmetry" and the staggered electronica of "Focal Point", which is notable for its use of glacial piano and diamond-edged beat patterns.

Having said that though, "Ekvílibríum" excels during its dreamier moments. The intro to "After Four" sounds oddly out of place this decade, yet works its spell, reeling the listener in with its alluring 80's melody. "Equilibrium Is Restored", meanwhile, features wandering digital tones and distant wind chimes that give the impression of a slow-motion toy box.

Sigurðsson directs "Ekvílibríum superbly, alternating between vocal and instrumental arrangements, while transcending multiple genres gracefully, focusing the album into a cohesive recorded document. Several guest musicians are effortlessly blended into the mix amidst his unique attention to detail production skills. It's an album that should see him emerge from the shadows of the mixing desk and into an artist in his own right. A significant step in building his own musical legacy, Sigurðsson just might be this generation's very own Van Dyke Parks.

Michael Henaghan

Angry Ape (September 21st 2007)

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