A cellist, and Icelandic, she’s appeared on at least 18 albums, some solo, most in collaboration with others. This is one of the solos. It was recorded in one take, say the album notes. No messing with it afterwards. And the sound is ambient, humming, and claustrophobic, as though the studio was a small room and purposeful bees lived there, in woolly scarves. This is an album in a definite space, and the cello sets out to cram that space. There’s singing too, hers, not a lot, and electronics. Hildur Guðnadóttir is possibly most recognisable from her time with múm but she’s also done a little compositional arranging for Throbbing Gristle and it’s Gristle she’s closer to here, on this album, pounding, as she does, if cellos can pound—sawing then—getting louder and firmer through the 35-minute track that takes up almost all of Leyfðu Ljósinu. At first I wasn’t convinced. Was it too minimal? Then decided: not if your object is ambient cramming. She ambiently crams.
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// Notes from the Road
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