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Press Reviews for Ekvílibríum

The country of Iceland with its 300.000 inhabitants has bred more talented musicians than tons of cities of the same size. Obviously, there´s way more to it than Björk, Sigur Ros and mùm, but it seems that in one way or another many of the other great artists coming from Iceland have some kind of connection to one of the three before mentioned. In the case of Valgeir Sigurdsson, the connection is with Björk whose albums “Vespertine” and “Medulla” were partly produced, mixed and engineered by Sigurdsson.

Sigurdsson also worked as a producer on the latest Cocorosie album and produced “The Letting Go” by Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Returning that favor, Will Oldham also sings on two songs on “Ekvilibrium”, the first solo album by Valgeir Sigurdsson. “Ekvilibrium” is a classic “producer” album and while such albums can turn out a mediocre collection of known voices backed by average electronic beats (as in the case of later albums by U.N.K.L.E. or Faultline), Valgeir Sigurdsson has found a good balance between incorporating known voices and presenting his own handwriting.

Among the guests featured on “Ekvilibrium” (next to Oldham) are J. Walker aka Machine Translations, Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables, Warren Ellis of Dirty Three as well as several Icelanders who partly also played on “The Letting Go”. On some songs it does not work perfectly and the tunes sound like fairly unspectacular downtempo that could also have been produced by any Chill Out compilation producer. The good songs on “Ekvilibrium”, however, are so perfectly melancholic, yet at the same time giving hope. Especially impressive is the suite of four songs ending the album. First, there is the 8-minute “Equilibrium Is Restored” which slowly moves forward and lets the listener lose every sense for time and space. The short “Before Nine” full of strings follows and melds into “Kin” featuring Will Oldham at his best and most introverted. It all culminates in the last song “Lungs, For Merrilee” which begins with some nice piano playing by Sigurdsson who is backed by his string ensemble of Una Sveinbjarnadóttir, Jónina Auour Hilmarsdóttir and Hrafnkell Orri Egilsson. This song, although without vocals is so intimate and touching, it just needs to be played back again and again.

Stephan Bauer

Foxy Digitalis (September 5th 2007) ★★★★★★★★

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