| Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson
A Little Lost
2003 Bottrop-Boy CD
1. My Treasure Ship
2. The Day Microphones Came To Live,
A Small Does of Space Madness,
Dark Olive-Green-Looking Blood,
The Hero Returned Back Home Empty Handed,
Der Fuchs Trinkt (Bier Und Schnapps),
A Very Memorable Day Back In August Of 1977
Ve-e-ry Pretty (With Bibbi On The Controls),
Tribute To Nico Fidenco
3. Pining For Azoth (Whilst Gaseous)
dismembered by irr. app. (ext.)
Icelandic musician (now based in Hannover, Germany) Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson has been a longtime member of the band Stilluppsteypa. Since some time he has been releasing solo works as well, with albums on Trente Oiseaux, ERS and Fire Inc already out. This is his new solo album, and the best example of the variety of his musical talent. A Little Lost contains three lengthy tracks, one beautiful piece that gets close in spirit to ambient, one collage piece using amongst else spoken word and a third track which is maybe closest to the familiar sound of Stilluppsteypa, on which he got help from Irr.App.(Ext.). This is certainly Sigmarsson's best solo effort to date!
Ms. Scarsdale speaks her mind:
If Kid 606 is to be trusted as reliable source, the drunken debauchery of the Icelandic electronic ensemble Stilluppsteypa rivals the mythic boozing of any given 80s hair-Metal band in terms of consumption and antics. Outside Stilluppsteypa's productions of electro-absurdities, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson cleans himself up a bit for his solo recordings; yet, he cannot escape the lingering effects of Islenskt Brennivin, Sigmarsson's preferred Icelandic whiskey, and Stilluppsteypa's predilection for blackhumour. Left to his own devices, Sigmarsson offers an introspective, moody twist on electro-acoustic composition, but often punctures his own constructions if things get too personal by recycling themes of self-effacing contradiction and phenomenological tension.
A Little Lost, Sigmarsson's fourth solo album, opens with a 20 minute reprise of his debut album Ship published through Bernhard Günter's Trente Oiseaux. My Treasure Ship revisits the sustained, radiant tones of an electronically treated organ, resembling the eternal sonorities found in the best work from Charlemagne Palestine. Nevertheless, Sigmarsson can't leave this gaping minimalism alone, as a smoldering static lies just underneath the surface and digital jump-cuts quietly riddle the interlaced delicacies of those saddened organ drones. The following composition The Day Microphones Came To Life... is a magnificent opus, culled from a live performance in Rotterdam. Again, those maritime organ drones introduce his work, but Sigmarsson offers numerous transitions and detours out of the once minimalist twinkling of sound. Sigmarsson organises sound in a convoluted narrative through the contextualisation of electro-acoustic phrasings that bristle with radioactivity. In taking the track's title literally, these repeated crackles and electric buzzings appear as a mimesis of the formation of an ur-language, which in fact coalesces into actual syllabic utterances in German. Before Sigmarsson completes a Hafler Trio like allegory on the techgnostic principles of sound and language, he interrupts the process with a blast of digitally constructed Metal riffs that's not too far from Lesser's gabba-glitch parataxis. After digressing into the babble of Jaap Blonk-esque sound poetry, Sigmarsson concludes this piece's semiotic disintegration with a semi-parodic big finish of apocalyptic techno. The finale for A Little Lost is a collaboration with the under-represented Neo-Surrealist project Irr.App.(Ext.). As both parties specialize in miscalculations and electronic debacles, the collaboration works quite well together in crafting thick gray drones slashed with backwards whisperings and erratic flutterings.
Given the improbability to differentiate between Sigmarrson's drunken flights of fancy and his artful administration of cranky Dadaist obtusion, A Little Lost would never claim to hold a profound epistemology. Rather, Sigarmsson unhinges meaning in a compelling spectacle of semantic dispersion.
Another marvelous album from Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, one of the founding members of the Icelandic experimental / electronica ensemble Stilluppsteypa. Generally speaking, the themes of contradiction and tension that run through Stilluppsteypa's recordings also appear in the solo work of Sigmarsson, although he spends much more time allowing all of his ideas to unravel, slowly articulating each sound before offering semiotic and / or acoustical counterpoints. A Little Lost opens with a fluttering drone from a digitally enhanced church organ sounding quite similar to the sounds heard on Ship his sublime debut for Trente Oiseaux. Flicking in and out of audibility, these drone hamonics subtly couple with a quiet smoldering of static to offer an expanse of lulling sound. Throughout the album, Sigmarsson slowly dismantles the hypnotic atmosphere, first with pronounced lapses of the drones in favor of delicate textural sounds, then through a series of repeated chunks of elemental grit sliding backwards and forwards against the grain of the drone, and climaxing with a tumultous blast of digital noise shaped into offkilter metal riffs which abruptly cut to some drunk yokel barking the alarm call from a German U-boat. Sigmarsson's genius becomes apparant in how he has moved from the calm beginning of the album to this abrasive pinnacle with a self-contained intelligence and sly continuity in sound construction. The album returns to a sense of calm through the final track, a lengthy remix of mutant minimalism provided by Irr.App.Ext, the sorely under-represented project of Santa Cruz artist Matt Waldron. Very, very nice!