Iceland’s Musical Gem
Iceland isn’t a country that gets a ton of attention from the west and when it does, it’s primarily due to the iconic musician Bjork. However, this is not the only musical experimentalist that calls the Nordic island a home. Classically trained composer extraordinaire Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s release of Aerial surely cements her name into the experimental annals. Aerial is a beautiful combination of noise and classical composition. The album is not for everyone, but fans of tasteful noise will find bliss in a way that Merzbow can’t even induce.
Aerial starts off with “Into – Second Self,” an interesting introduction to an interesting album with a light and ghostly appearance of horns and the clattering of percussion. This is the best way to introduce Thorvaldsdottir’s experimental approach to classical composition. The discordance and crescendos of the horns create an atmosphere that leave the listener feeling as though peril is on the horizon. This feeling continues and is a unifying theme for Aerial. Her taunting continues in “Ro” with a deep piano’s shuttering and reed instruments breaking through the void.
Going further through this mysterious depth, Aerial brings the listener to “Aerality” – the climax of the adventure led by the seductive and supremely feminine flutes with dashes of heroine brazenness brought forth from clashing strings and brass. “Tactillity III, I, II” brings about a difference in perspective to artfully hesitant drums, waves crashing against a cold Icelandic shore, and slight tweaks of the strings and chirps of harps that indicate something amiss.
Aerial ends its clash of sound and archetypal nuances with “Shades of Silence,” a true conclusion to this beautiful album. Anna Thorvaldsdottir will never be a household name, but amongst the world of composition, she stands out not unlike a giant elephant in a room full of ants, and is Iceland’s true hidden musical gem.