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Soundohm

Vocal Studies #4 (excerpt)
File under: phonetics

Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson

Vocal Studies #4 (tape)

Label: Econore

Format: tape

Genre: Sound Art

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Edition of 50. Killer! Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson (b. 1977) is an Icelandic musician and sound artist, founding member of Stilluppsteypa. Sigmarsson was born in Akureyri, Iceland and studied sound art at the Fachhochschule in Hannover, Germany from 1998 to 2003. "Here are two men who are working very often together; in fact, I was thinking they could have chosen a band name by now. I am a big fan of their work, either in collaboration or solo. Playing drone-based music is what they do, perhaps, but it is so much more. Beyond their names on the cover and the somewhat odd title, there is not much else mentioned. I am probably biased but this is another release. It seems to me there is a somewhat different approach here. There is now a more collage-like approach, with sounds fading in and out, and some interesting cuts and moves. I would think that much of this is made with the processing of field recordings and, perhaps, voices, it hisses, bursts and crackles on all sides. All of this happens with great pacing; it can be silent for some time, which, perhaps given the fact that this is a cassette release may seem odd (or adds another layer). This is very much a work that was created with digital means and holds firmly the flag for laptop music. That's either a rare example these days or the (careful) return to that whole work, with its peak more than a decade ago. The way Sigmarsson and Nilsen montage their sounds is very filmic; very long and spacious, such as towards the end of the last side, or going with rapid movements and brisk cuts. Oddly enough one of the names that sprung to mind here was The Hafler Trio, and especially the early, collage work. I thought it was a very delicate work that may lose a bit on the format of a cassette, and should quickly be re-issued on a CD. With such fame-names that should surely be no problem.
           Of a rather more puzzling nature is a rather short cassette (ten minutes only) called 'Vocal Studies #4' (the label has a few more of these short studies by others). The first side contains 'I looked Like All Over For You' and is a rather quiet piece. Sigmarsson is known for his voice only performances and this could have been taped at one, but perhaps he did a bit of transformation on it. His singing, thin voice becomes like stale wind over barren land. A lot more happens on 'Take A Look Out All Over My Face And Head', in which he uses plenty of transformations of what I believe is on the first side (I might be wrong) and a likewise chilling feeling; some ghostly narration or impending doom is about to happen. The first piece builds up until it cuts out at the end, while the second piece is ongoing from start to finish and also cutting put rather abruptly. I sure would have loved both pieces to be twice as long! (FdW)"

Details
Cat. number: ECO 160
Year: 2020

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