The problem with artists like Icelandic Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson is that you don't know what's the best point from which to start the narration. If you start chronologically it's going to look like a Wikipedia entry. If you focus only on the latest release it would look like a review. And if you just deal with several random points it's going to look vague and non-descriptive. We will attempt an approach through all three ways. Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson is a visual artist who exhibits his paintings, drawings & sound installations in dozens of art galleries and museums around the world over the years, and is a founding member of the band Stilluppsteypa. A band which began with a punk logic and went on into more experimental fields, only to receive the decisive influence of Andrew McKenzie and dedicate itself to the weirdest artistic concerns of its members. Their creativity as a band is apparent in the many works that have been released and the ten (!!) albums that were recorded (for Helen Scarsdale Agency and Editions Mego) together with Swedish BJ Nilsen. From 2001 onwards, Sigtryggur released his solo works and his collaborations with people like Tom Smith, Steven Stapleton and, again, BJ Nilsen (in last year's flawless "Avantgardegasse" LP), with increased frequency and quality. In his work one can easily observe the attempt to teeter between an academic cut-up concrete and a wonderful sense of melody, elements which rank him as easily in avant garde space as on the fringes of classical composition.
In "Wondrous Intermission" we are excited to see him doing both. Side A, entitled "I am the Cello" is a musical work written for orchestra (cello, piano, bass) performed by the Malneirophrenia trio, with additional field recordings by the extraordinary Argentine musician Anla Courtis and with synths, cut-ups and sound effects from Sigmarsson himself. Originally recorded as the audio accompaniment of an artbook containing 60 paintings of the artist and distributed only between friends, it now enjoys, for the first time, a broader release, since, according to the artist, it's one of his best tracks and would be a shame to be confined to a limited audience. In side B, entitled "It is in Four Parts" things are somewhat more complicated, with vocal experiments alternating with droning strings, electro-acoustic elements and traces of melody in the background. It is so "visual" that one can feel the corresponding performance unfold before one's eyes. The 35 minutes of "Wondrous Intermission" leave us enchanted with every listening, each time a bit more.
released September 8, 2016
I am the Cello was made together with Malneirophrenia:
Gunnar Theódór Eggertsson - piano
Hallur Örn Árnason - bass
Hallgrímur Jónas Jensson - cello
Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson - Sound Effects, Cut-ups, Remix
Anla Courtis - Field Recordings
Mastered by Kris Delacourt
It is in Four Parts was recorded and mixed at Listaháskóli Íslands, Reykjavík Iceland april 2016