Sigur Ros announce new orchestral album (stream a track)
Not only did Jonsi just release a great new solo album (his first in 10 years), but Sigur Ros have now announced an orchestral album, Odin’s Raven Magic, which was made with the Schola Cantorum of Reykjavik and L’Orchestre des Laureats du Conservatoire national de Paris. It comes out December 4 via Krunk/Warner Classics. According to a press release, the album is "a collaboration between the band and Icelandic music legend Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (who is also ordained ‘chief goði’ of the pagan Norse religion Ásatrúarfélagið), as well as Steindór Andersen, a fisherman and one of Iceland’s most respected chanters of traditional epic narrative." It was arranged by former Sigur Ros member Kjartan Sveinsson and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir of the band amiina. More background via press release:
The work grew out of Hilmarsson’s long-standing fascination with one particular chapter of Iceland’s Medieval literary canon known as the Edda, entitled Hrafnagaldur Óðins, or Odin’s Raven Magic, named after the Norse god’s two ravens, that flew over the Earth to survey and bring information back to him. The poem recounts a banquet held by the gods, in which ominous signs foretell the end of the world of both gods and men. In 1867 the poem was judged to be a fake, but then in 2002, scholars re-ratified it as an official 14th century addition to the Edda.
Says Hilmarsson of the poem: “Hrafnagaldur Óðins has lots of interpretation and implications that fire up the imagination… It’s a very visual poem, with images all about falling down, and a world freezing from north to south. It was an apocalyptic warning. Perhaps the people of the time felt it in their skins. Today, of course, Iceland is involved in environmental issues surrounding hydro-electric power and the destruction of the highlands. We are being warned again.”
Odin’s Raven Magic was conceived and first commissioned by the Reykjavik Arts Festival in 2002 and performed only a handful of times that year. It has since become part of Sigur Rós’ own mythology, existing only in snippets found online by fans. This definitive release, taken from a live recording of the 70-minute score from Paris’ La Grande Halle de la Villette, finally brings this important work to light.
The first taste is "Dvergmál," a seven-and-a-half minute song that's gorgeous and climactic in all the ways you'd expect from Sigur Ros, but definitely not just a typical Sigur Ros song. Listen below.
2. Alföður orkar
4. Stendur æva
5. Áss hinn hvíti
6. Hvert stefnir
7. Spár eða spakmál