Bedroom Community

Press Reviews for Ekvílibríum

Valgeir Sigurdsson first glimpsed the possibilities in being a music producer as a teenager in Iceland, when he connected the dots between beloved albums by Roxy Music, U2, David Bowie and more experimental records like Ambient 1; Music for Airports and Here Come the Warm Jets. He realizes that they all led back to one exceedingly brilliant, bald visionary named Brian Eno. "I really liked the way he worked with other bands" Sigurdsson says. "The way he incorporated his sound, but also took their sound further."

After cutting his teeth on four albums by Björk, Sigurdsson decided that it was time to strike out in new directions. Most recently, he has produced and engineered albums for Will Oldham, CocoRosie, classically trained composer Nico Muhly and avant-garde electronic musician Ben Frost, drawing the artists to his home studio in Reykjavík.

In June, Sigurdsson will also release his first album of solo material on Bedroom Community, his newly minted label. Ekvílibríum is a synthesis of elements that have surfaced in Sigurdsson's other projects, but here they are given full stage. There are bouncy, flickering beats, the symphonic touches, the use of acoustic instruments in ambient soundscapes and the electronic washes. The album is also interspersed with vocal performances from past collaborators like Oldham, Faun Fables' Dawn McCarthy and Machine Translations' J Walker, but in settings that are very much the producer's own.

And while Sigurdsson is known for making heavily textured electronic soundscapes and beats, it is the human performance he says, that resonates with him most deeply. The strength of Ekvílibríum - as with all of Sigurdsson's projects - is in the organic way he weds the electronic to the human. If the artists that Sigurdsson works with have something in common, it's that they are not afraid of big emotions, and Sigurdsson uses his technical expertise to spotlight them. Nowhere is this clearer than on Oldham's recent album (released under his Bonnie 'Prince' Billy moniker), The Letting Go, where Sigurdsson's studio choices give expression to the full emotional possibilities of Oldham's songs. The interplay of electronic squalls with dramatic string arrangements, manipulated drum textures, plaintive harmonies and theatrical lyrics pushes Oldham's sound into spaces it had never previously been.

The result is a singular album, as ornate as it is direct.

Alex Waxman

The Fader Magazine (May 1st 2007)

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