BJARNASON Over Light Earth. Emergence. Solitudes
The Bedroom Community label has built a notable roster of composers and none more so than Reykjavik-born Daníel Bjarnason (34 this year), represented here by three works. Over Light Earth draws on two paintings by Jackson Pollock – hence the simmering textural consistency of the eponymous first piece, then the more animated and even confrontational ‘Number 1, 1949’. A more incremental expression is to be found in Emergence, a triptych in which the musical substance comes into focus via an amalgam of minimalist gestures and long-term harmonic planes, scored with a fastidiousness that those familiar with Bjarnason’s string arrangements on the last two albums by Sigur Rós will recognise as a personal trait.
Even more absorbing musically is Solitudes – a piece that emerged out of an earlier piano concerto, of which traces can be found in numerous brief cadenza-like passages throughout the five movements, as well as the recourse to prepared piano such as gives the later stages an almost whimsical humour which is further enhanced by the subtle electronic component. Excellent performances (not for nothing is Bjarnason being taken up by orchestras on both sides of the USA), along with closely miked yet detailed and never un-atmospheric sound and succinct booklet-notes, round out an auspicious release whose one drawback (for CD purchasers at any rate) might be the relatively meagre playing time. Do investigate this and related releases by the composer on this label, and expect to hear much more of Bjarnason’s music over the years ahead.