Jónsi bandmember flies solo, conjures new vistas
It's no secret that Iceland has a knack for delivering extremely immersive music and Úlfur Hansson is of particularly reputable stock. The newly solo performer is best known for his work in the backing band of Jónsi (a man best known for fronting Sigur Rós), so it's safe to assume that he knows his way around some epic instrumentals. Sure enough, Úlfur's debut is called White Mountain, and trades in gorgeous soundscapes that verge into the near-mystical.
"Every track is a collage of field-recordings made while traveling," he says. "I always carry my tape recorder with me like a camera. Some tracks are composed of beats made from my cousin throwing rocks into a pond out in the sticks in Iceland, converging with some birds I met in Chicago." Úlfur also wove in his own instrumentation, plus contributions from Mountain Man vocalist Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Björk collaborator Sigrún Jónsdóttir (bass, guitar).
The end result is warmer than the music of his predecessors, and imbued with creative programming that brings to mind the work of the Morr Music camp or loop-lovers like Dosh. "Each individual sound has a very special memory attached to it," Úlfur adds, "so the album creates these nostalgic nonexistent spaces... an amalgamation of instances, situations that couldn't possibly exist. I imagine this 'White Mountain,' an invisible imaginary place — a sacred place on the horizon."