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Architecture of Loss


The parameters of musical possibility are vast on Valgeir Sigurðsson's third LP; Architecture of Loss. The music flows from no "notes" at all to lyrical, folk-like melody, from spare, acoustic sound to dense digital intervention. Originally composed for the ballet of the same name by Stephen Petronio, Architecture of Loss is a powerful work in its own right in which Valgeir works from a broad palette of absences. The performers were handpicked from trusted Bedroom Community regulars: in addition to Valgeir himself and composer/keyboardist Nico Muhly, the album features classical violist Nadia Sirota -- her sound is as deeply individual and immediately recognizable as the sound of her speaking voice and takes full possession of the notes on the page -- and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily -- a secret weapon of a sideman who excels at exactly the things you can't put down on paper, from solid grooves to scribbles of noise. The resulting piece maintains a structural unity surpassing either of Valgeir's previous, more formally-open LPs. While his solo debut Ekvílibríum (HVALUR 003CD/LP) boasted singers like Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Dawn McCarthy, the voice of that record was unmistakably Valgeir's own. On his second solo disc -- the soundtrack to the film Draumalandið (HVALUR 008CD) -- the suite of movements released on disc enjoyed an aesthetic life of its own independent of the finished film. Draumalandið and Ekvílibríum were allowed to develop freely as recording projects whereas Architecure of Loss had to be realized with physical performance in mind, by its players and dancers. This album represents the piece as conceived and reconceived for the stage, and then reconceived again as pure music (the movement "Gone, Not Forgotten," for instance, is exclusive to this recording). Created, pored over and developed: the result is a meticulously-designed structure, a sound architecture of musical and physical gestures and stillnesses.