Gísladóttir: Caeli / Bára Gísladóttir, Skúli Sverrisson
Caeli is spun out of the idea of skies and dimensions merging into a boarderless being boasting of a rich and vivid texture, at times carrying numerous worlds inside at once. During the recording of Caeli, Bára and Skúli would have long discussions about how the world is opening up and how this would and could affect music as well. They like to look at Caeli as a product of this openness - a crystallisation of freedom, exposure and transparency in sound. Bára Gísladóttir (born 1989) is an Icelandic composer and double bassist based in Copenhagen. She studied composition at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavík, Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi" in Milan and at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. Bára´s pieces have been selected for festivals such as Dark Music Days, Darmstädter Ferienkurse, International Rostrum of Composers, KLANG Festival, Nordic Music Days and Ung Nordisk Musik. She has received the Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen Foundation’s Talent Awards, Léonie Sonning Talent Prize, The Reykjavík Grapevine's Music Awards, and has been nominated to the Carl Prize as 'Composer of the year', the Kraumur Music Awards three times for 'Album of the year' and The Icelandic Music Awards twice for 'Piece of the year'. Bára is an active performer and regularly plays her own music, mostly solo or with her long time collaborator, Skúli Sverrisson. In addition to this, she is the double bassist of Elja Ensemble. She has also performed with Ensemble Adapter, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and S.L.Á.T.U.R.. Skúli Sverrisson (born 23 October 1966) is an Icelandic composer and bass guitarist. He has worked with musicians Wadada Leo Smith, Derek Bailey, Lou Reed, Jon Hassel, David Sylvian, Arto Lindsay, and composers Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Hildur Guðnadóttir.
While each of the 19 ‘movements’ seem sufficiently distinct from each other their individual arcs seem to follow a course of gradual bending and fragmentation. By that I mean that if each of the movements seems to begin and end in the same place, the excursion one experiences en route is abundant in microscopic timbral variety and largely imperceptible flux.
There can be little doubt that Bára Gísladóttir and Skúli Sverrisson are outstanding musicians in every sense; if their virtuosity as players per se takes ones breath away that’s not even the half of it. What is effectively a 130 minute dual improvisation involving a double bass and an electric bass is, in the end, an experience of profundity, wonder, and indescribable beauty. Caeli is all-encompassing and astonishing in a literal sense; at once it can be monolithic and elastic, dark and luminous, purposeful and daydreaming, bold and terrified, triumphant and sad. It’s all on these discs.
– MusicWeb International
Catalog Number: SLE-70020
Label: Sono Luminus
Composer: Bára Gísladóttir
Performer: Bára Gísladóttir, Skúli Sverrisson