- Over Light Earth I. Over Light Earth
- Over Light Earth II. Number 1, 1949
- Emergence I. Silence
- Emergence II. Black Breathing
- Emergence III. Emergence
- Solitudes I. Holy
- Solitudes II. Dance Around In Your Bones
- Solitudes III. Echo & Pre-Echo
- Solitudes IV. Selge Ruh
- Solitudes V. T'aint No Sin
Bedroom Community releases Daníel Bjarnason's Over Light Earth on September 30th 2013. This is the Icelandic multi award-winning composer's second solo-album and third release on Bedroom Community, hot on the heels of his SÓLARIS collaboration with labelmate Ben Frost. Bjarnason's critically acclaimed debut album Processions was hailed by Time Out NY as 'coming eerily close to defining classical music’s undefinable brave new world'. On Over Light Earth the intensity of Bjarnason's orchestral voice is captured through meticulous close-miking and multitracking, a recording process that sets this recording radically apart from that of conventional orchestral recordings.
This album is very much the fruit of Bjarnason's ongoing and intimate symbiosis with Bedroom Community's Valgeir Sigurðsson. Here, with engineer Paul Evans and the newly formed Reykjavík Sinfonia, they have produced a suitably unconventional symphonic recording. As much at home in the recording studio as he is on the conductor's podium, it's no wonder Bjarnason is equally effective in collaboration with other sonic architects, whether it's the band Sigur Rós —he collaborated with them on their last two albums— or his Bedroom Community labelmates.
Over Light Earth comprises of three major works; the title work which was commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is Bjarnason's sonic nod towards the work of the so-called New York School of painters like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, whose canvases No. 9 (Dark Over Light Earth) and Number 1, 1949 inspired the two movements of 'Over Light Earth'.
The second piece is aptly titled 'Emergence'. The inexorable progresses of the underlying harmonies suggest a vast, preexisting form just coming into view, but while these harmonies keep steady somewhere beneath the audible surface of the piece, they're manifested in a range of unstable attacks, hesitations and anticipations.
The third and final piece ‘Solitudes', is an early work that is in fact Daníel's first piano concerto, here reworked with electronics by Sigurðsson and Frost. In this piece Bjarnason demonstrates his mastery of more complex harmonies and melodies. He uses the technique of muffling the piano strings to create syncopated, danceable rhythms almost like percussion pieces for piano and there might be a hint of a young John Cage here; of the rhythmically vital, pseudo-primitive prepared piano works. It's between the simple elements and more abstract materials - between harmonic motion and pure gesture - that we can hear Daníel Bjarnason's compositional voice itself beginning to emerge.
What the press says
This unearthly record by award-winning Icelandic artist Daníel Bjarnason is as ghostly and ethereal as the album artwork. Full-bodied soundscapes blend with half-harmonised snippets to create something complete, yet only partly tangible
It’s scarier than anything Bjarnason has done before, filled with the measured fury of a people who have had time to let their discontent really settle in.
More exciting are the clashing layers of shimmering strings and turbulent horns on the three-part Emergence, whose lumbering, ominous melody hits its conclusion without resolving the piece’s unsettling harmonies, making for a tension-riddled trip to the very end.
...the music often sounds as if it’s suspended in space; woodwinds and strings swirl around pointillistic, muted piano notes and clusters; swells of brass splotch a sonic canvas of pulsing strings that hints at a shimmering surface underpinned by both meditative calm and chaos.
It’s the kind of ambitious narrative neoclassical work which fans of Valgeir Sigurðsson and Johann Johannsson will doubtless enjoy, beautifully realised and emotionally rousing, swimming with life and drama and tension.
...stunning and definitive statement from a composer poised to make meaningful contributions to the symphonic repertoire for years to come
... this evening afforded the audience intimate access to one of the most exciting, thoughtful and inspired composers working today.
He’s a dynamic modern composer, one worth watching more closely.
like a slightly uneasy ride on LSD
...the music Daníel composes are instrumental soundscape pieces that take the listener on a spiritual journey.
With fierce intelligence confirmed, Bjarnason now seems primed for a romp through the rest of the 21st century.
This record is intentional, poignant, and brimming with profound vision.
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On the web
- Find out more on Daníel Bjarnason’s website
- Visit Daníel Bjarnason’s page on MySpace
- Check out Daníel Bjarnason’s page on Facebook
- Follow Daníel Bjarnason on Twitter