We’re Calming Ourselves w/ a New Sigur Rós Orchestral Composition
Election night 2020 was obviously one of the most harrowing moments in American history—and that anxiety is likely to carry on for at least another few days.
So we’re seeking solace the way we most often do—by losing ourselves in mood-lifting music. In this case, it’s the first single, ‘Dvergmál,’ from the upcoming Sigur Rós album, intriguingly titled Odin’s Raven Magic. It’s due out December 4 via Krunk / Warner Classics.
Now, if ever there was an album that had “inevitable” written all over it, it would be the first fully orchestral work by Sigur Rós. It’s a collaboration with legendary musician and art director Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (a pioneer of composing on computers), and the title comes from Edda, a famous chapter in the Icelandic medieval literary canon (naturally). String arrangements are by Kjartan Sveinsson, and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir of amiina, who also call the little Scandinavian nation their home.
The track itself has something of a “music box” intro, and we see the band tapping gently but intently on a custom built marimba, possibly made from tree bark, before the orchestra comes in with a somber but soothing suite of strings. It then rises to an exhilarating sweep, with thundering drums and exuberant chorals—and the latter almost sound like a bit of hope in such hopeless times.
Hilmarsson says of the poem that inspired it, “Hrafnagaldur Óðins has lots of interpretation and implications that fire up the imagination. It’s a very visual poem, with images all about falling down, and a world freezing from north to south. It was an apocalyptic warning. Perhaps the people of the time felt it in their skins. Today, of course, Iceland is involved in environmental issues surrounding hydro-electric power and the destruction of the highlands. We are being warned again.”
And what could be more de rigueur than predictions of the Apocalypse?