Jóhann Jóhannsson Virdulegu Forsetar

This is perfect music for sunrises, fog drifting in harbours, glacial erosion — anything mysterious, majestic and slow moving. It is the music Stanley Kubrick might use to open a four-hour director’s cut of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The second long recording from a founding member of Iceland’s Kitchen Motors arts organisation, Virdulegu Forsetar is simply and deceptively, a fanfare for 11 horns played repeatedly over the course of just over an hour, separated into four movements. Each time the theme swells it engenders a slight variation, whether in its speed of attack, volume at apex, or duration. Each variation subtly affects mood, crossing the spectrum through melancholy to celebratory to near-braggadocio. During the lengthy passages between swells a low, dense drone that carries the silence, itself varied by the addition of undertones, chimes and crackle. By the third movement the drone becomes so gradually kinetic that it seems the horns were just a distraction while stagehands moved the scenery closer and closer. Like watching the sun rise, listening to Jóhannson’s composition induces a time-folding reverie, with changes occurring so gradually that scenery never becomes unfamiliar despite obvious eventual differences. It is also equally and disarmingly beautiful. (Touch)