First Reaction: Georg Holm, Orri Páll Dýrason, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Kjartan Holm 'Circe'
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:48:06
A swirling cinematic take on the spirit of circuses and carnivals from two-thirds of Sigur Rós.
Circe is majestic in every way. Sigur Rós bassist Georg Holm and dummer Orri Páll Dýrason linked up with an Icelandic composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson [Beowulf & Grendel, Angels of the Universe] and their touring guitar-slinger Kjartan Holm to build an expansive 14-track body of work entitled Circe. Drawing inspiration from archival footage of old vaudeville, circuses, and carnivals, these four musicians crafted an enticing, entrancing, and enigmatic musical movement that basically functions like a soundtrack without a movie. That's the best way to describe it. The best comparison is Germany's Bohren & der Club of Gore meets Vangelis's Blade Runner score, but that doesn't even quite convey the whole picture. The quartet managed to muster a mystique of their own unhindered by any boundaries or constraints.
Listen to "Lila" from 'Circe'
The pomp and circumstance of the opener's title "Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls" belies the spacy wonder lurking within the swirl of orchestration. It's both organic and delightfully modern in its execution, and that's a theme upheld throughout the 72-minute journey. "Torture" builds from a guitar lull into an elegant drown that has the power to fill up a cathedral or a concert hall. That's the malleability of this music. It towers at all the right moments. It's the penultimate "Wirewalker," which teeters between a propulsive percussive snap and an uplifting melody just before the final "Epilogue" fuels the rocket ship upwards to the heavens.
This isn't too far from the realm of Sigur Rós, so in that respect, it's perfect for longtime fans. At the same time, Circe possesses its own appeal resulting from that depth. It's warm cavernous instrumental passages wouldn't be out of place behind visuals from either Federico Fellini or David Lynch—or even maybe the first season of True Detective. That's the real wonder of this music. It's visuals could bend to whatever you're seeing continually in your head. That majesty will own grow stronger with repeat listens too.
Listen to the title track, "Circe"
'Circe' from Georg Holm, Orri Páll Dýrason, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Kjartan Holm is due out August 21, 2015.