May 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: The Alvaret Ensemble, Kira Kira, Eiríkur Orri Ólaffson, Ingri Garar Erlendsson, Borgar Magnason – Skeylja

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The Alvaret Ensemble, Kira Kira, Eiríkur Orri Ólaffson, Ingri Garar Erlendsson, Borgar Magnason
Skeylja
Denovali Records
Street: 03.21
The Alvaret Ensemble, et al = Anne Guthrie + Valgeir Sigur∂sson + The Kurva Choir
 
The Skeylja project is a collaboration featuring the Berlin-based Alvaret Ensemble, who traveled to Iceland to practice and play with several prominent musicians in the avant-garde/post-classical tradition (a genre which Iceland seems to foster). The result is a few rough sketches of songs that were performed live in nine, one-hour performances in an old church on an island off the coast of the Netherlands. Those recordings, edited and distilled, came to be known as Skeylja. Skeylja is an album of infinite possibilities: graceful, melodic passages plunge headlong into a lock-horned battle of dissonant, avant-damage. Long, droning passages are swept into a churning sea of brass, woodwinds, guitar and human/inhuman voices that swallow up any other sounds not Skeylja. The resulting album is an incredibly engaging piece of work that is colossal, even though it is only a fraction of the original work. –Ryan Hall
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