Valgeir Sigurðsson

Ekvílibríum

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AllMusic Review by

Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurðsson is best known for his work for other artists (Björk and Bonnie "Prince" Billy, mostly), so it actually comes as no surprise that his solo debut...comes as a surprise. It is a "producer's record," in that Sigurðsson called in favors across the board (although, no, Björk is not part of the adventure), lining up a revolving cast of musicians and three singers: Billy, Faun Fables' Dawn McCarthy, and Machine Translations' J. Walker. However, despite all the diversity among constituent parts, the whole remains surprisingly -- that word again -- consistent. In fact, listening to Ekvilibrium helps you pinpoint and sum up what Sigurðsson brings to other people's records. This debut features quiet electro-acoustic folk pieces made of delicate electronic textures, lushly scored acoustic instruments (lots of strings, subdued piano courtesy of Nico Muhly, occasional brass instruments), and a dreamy feel. In other words: simple compositions developing through complex arrangements. Ekvilibrium contains ten tracks, including four songs and six instrumentals. The album begins with one of KTU's Samuli Kosminen's rough-edged beats ("A Symmetry"), followed by the first song, "Evolution of Waters," the first of two tracks penned by Sigurðsson and Will Oldham. The first half of the album follows a general curve toward the orchestral peak of "Winter Sleep," featuring a ten-piece ensemble and a gripping vocal delivery from Dawn McCarthy. After that, things boil down toward "Kin," Billy's second song. If the songs are more immediately grasped, the instrumentals also provide their fair share of highlights. Highly recommended to fans of post-rock and modern folk.

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