Originally released in 2006, Mount A, Hildur Gudnadóttir’s first solo recording, has been remastered for its 2010 North American release. The reissue is at times more tempered or bolder than the original effort, courtesy of Denis Blackham’s touch. In the same vein as fellow Icelanders Jóhann Jóhannsson and Ólafur Arnalds, Gudnadóttir composes weighty, wordless instrumentals. She embellishes her primary instrument, the cello, with the exotic zither, viola de gamba and moran khuur, along with some electronic looping effects.
The album’s tense atmospherics are specifically attuned to the cold, raw extremities of Iceland itself. “Floods” is situated amongst the vast glacial fjords, while “Casting” and “Shadows” express the tectonic anxiety of the mountainous terrain. The drone of “Reflection” further immerses the listener into the oppressive environment. The finale, “You”, is elegant and refreshing but more elusive to position. Mount A is tough on initial approach but demonstrates sophistication with repeated listening.
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// Notes from the Road
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