| Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson
1999 Trente Oiseaux CD
"Sigtryggur has created a wonderfully calm, very minimal, but also very detailed work. The compositional
devices that structure the work are subtle, yet effective in making it a very rounded out listening experience.
Sigtryggur has distilled an immensely personal musical statement from very reduced source material. The
atmosphere of his work actually strongly reminds me of my visit to Iceland, and its wonderful topography of absence." Bernhard Günter
Ms. Scarsdale speaks her mind:
"i'm just dreaming, always alone on a boat" - sbs
Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson's native land of Iceland has an oceanic climate. You might be asking yourself, what does the meteorological status of Iceland have to do with sounds of Mr. Sigmarsson's debut album Ship? Well may form an important context in staging the differences between the work that Mr. Sigmarsson produces on his own as opposed to that which he contributes to his much celebrated project Stilluppsteypa. Where the collective unit known as Stilluppsteypa -- currently a duo between Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson after Heimir Bjorgulfsson left to pursue his own career -- is blind drunk, raging against the cold, dark sky with electric fury and absurdist strategies, Mr. Sigmarsson has been known to contemplate his dreams, when left to his own devices. During these meditative moments, I could imagine him quietly on a simple wooden ship, meandering in the harbour of Reykjavik on a bucolic summer evening and daydreaming whilst the clouds and mist pass over head. If this scenario is at all likely, then Iceland's oceanic climate has everything to do with Mr. Sigmarsson's nostalgic reinventions captured upon Ship. For the subtle shifts of extended chord organ drones found within his breathtaking piece of minimalism reflect the placid currents of the Gulf Stream lapping at the ancient volcanic rock that situates itself right in the middle of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Those currents become the foundation to Mr. Sigmarsson's daydreams as the midnight sun approaches during the summer months. As to the content of his dreams, Mr. Sigmarsson is smart enough to keep those to himself, for such sentimentality could be nauseating. However, what he does provide is context within a shimmering set of harmonic overtones. The personal nature of this music is nevertheless self-evident, making it a rare gem that both teases with the notions of self-expressivity and maintains a profound rendering of formalism. As almost an aside, this is an album published on Bernhard Gunter's Trente Oiseaux label, thanks to its minimalist grandeur.