This fourth record by Valtýsdóttir began life during the dark winter in Brooklyn and took shape in the light of the Icelandic summer. In a way, the nine compositions resemble this evolution, each unfolding like little chrysalis, exploring the duality that permeates so much of our lives.
This duality manifests itself through a variety of interesting musical choices, with the vocal and nuanced use of Valtýsdóttir’s cello underpinning much of the work. Alphabet’s melancholy strings contrast with the playful flutes and trip-hop of Black Swan (reminiscent of Björk’s Utopia).
Beautiful and strange
In Corde, an adaptation of a 12th-century hymn by mystical nun Hildegard Von Bingen, is so rich, with its elegant piano, strings, and vocals chasing each other to create a magnificent and sometimes eerie effect.
Cute Kittens Lick Cream is all dreamy and touching, prefacing the dark and swirling Miracle, which takes us “into the darkest current”, a current which rises a little on the glowing prism. Yet there is humor at work here too, like on Heavenly Privacy, where whispered chants dance above the crackle of the volcano from which it was recorded. Tell It is a sleek plink-plonk grace and complements the rising strings on Amaying. It is an immersive record, exploiting elements of the deep past while making reference to an equally deep modernity.