Published Jun 15, 2018This new effort by Reykjavik composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Snorri Hallgrímsson is breathtaking. Every one of these ten pieces is a highlight, and each lyric is warmer than the last. It is sad, romantic and exquisitely produced.
Orbit combines gentle piano with lush strings, distorted beats and Hallgrímsson's achingly beautiful voice. The album's theme — moving from place to place, missing loved ones — is presented with real tenderness. "Home is not a place; places are not home; home is people," he sings on "Homeless."
Later, on "The Unfortunate Fortune," Hallgrímsson sings "your greatest joy / the knowledge of its impermanence / when homes collapse / when things collapse." Surrounded as they are by heavily treated percussion, these lyrics are deeply resonant.
Given Hallgrímsson's background in classical music and film scoring (he began his career as a classical guitarist), it's not surprising that he is capable of such luxuriously cinematic work. He's joined by the string section of the Budapest Art Orchestra. Addi 800 — whose resume includes work with Björk and Sigur Rós — engineered and mixed the album.
Hallgrímsson's orbit also includes another great Icelandic composer and multi-instrumentalist, Olafur Arnalds. The two have worked together for years.
Orbit is as close to flawless as anything that's crossed my desk this year. Musically, it's stunning. Thematically, it is dramatic without being melodramatic. Emotionally, it's sad, but never maudlin. This is the kind of record you never forget. (Moderna Records)