I've been listening to his 5 track album over the last year; Theory of Machines, and I do believe I've rarely been more moved by any group of tracks in the entire stretch of my existence. Of course my existence is limited to myself, and your eclectic selves may have delved deeper into your own souls than I ever could imagine. But by God the frustration of emotion and the release contained within are enough to feel as though completely forgotten parts of myself are awoken to weep and bask in the cleansing water that only a mortal imagination can conjure.
Released by Valgeir Siguršsson's Bedroom Community label, the album contains 5 tracks, which really are best heard as one. Two titles at least show a distinct nod of the head to the amazing band Swans, but they are much more than a tribute. Modestly he thanks Michael Gira, but Swans never made this piece, and I never would think it any different, or even that it could be. This exceeds anything I have heard before in the forms it has taken up. It speaks in a universal language of sound (He's from Australia, writes & records in Iceland and works with international collaborators) and symphonic narrative harking right back to classical composition, but exceeding it in both instrumentation and style. It exceeds post-rock, in being so instrumentally ambiguous and electronic that there is very little in the way of individual motifs but more sounds that are made to speak to each other, everything is far more where it should be, it doesn't reject form, it just doesn't address it. In most music, from electronic dance to folk, there are different instruments operating on various frequency levels and in separated sections. This blurs those imaginary lines and paints up and down, and across them with liberating effort, to express tortured sound as the full experience it has always been trying to be.
I try to put it to words, but if ever I could do it fully and successfully, I'd still never be as astounded by those words as I am by the sounds which come into my ears when I play his music. I don't actually know where they come from, I thought they were electronic, but apparently much of the texture is manipulated overdriven guitar. The sounds swell and battle and crunch and digitally crack. It's as though the scratch on a broken CD has suddenly become alive and sings in the skips of a symphonic backdrop which strives to be heard through the attack and the distortion, then falls away to reveal the ever opening petals of ascension through harmony.
It's built on the unremembered shoulders of that primitive satisfaction in sheer blissful resonance; the way a sung note can vibrate against a loving drone and the resolute consolation it allows. Yet in the earlier parts of the album there are some of the most unrelenting drum beats I've heard, shortly and sharply thrust into and out of the crackling mix and sharp beats so incomprehensibly penetrating that they could be acoustic; they are felt. They drive forward a sort of violence, and only with them can the beauty of the album truly be in context...
I'm immobilized every time I play it, I can't ignore it and yet it carries me from my location and I forget that I'm listening to music but reflect. There are no words, but I feel the abstract narratives bleeding their way through from the subconscious of the record or the listener, or perhaps both, the two interacting like the blistering exchange of violence and beauty, or of fragmented sound and fluid harmony or of the harmony these factors themselves have with each other, best embodied by this record. One only has to observe the title of the concluding track to know the eloquence with which the entire piece is realised (with a nod to a track by SWANS);
"Forgetting you is Like Breathing water".