Living in this hostile land of northern Scotland, I’m closer to Iceland than most. A two-hour flight from Glasgow to Reykjavik, provided by the always sympathetic and easy-on-your-wallet Icelandic Air, is all that it takes to get me there to imbibe a tasteful pint of Einstök. From all the cities and nations that I’ve visited, Iceland is probably the one and only where I get this peculiar feeling of humans actually knowing their place. The inhospitable, glacial landscapes keep people humble, an inverted island mentality, as if all Icelanders have the awareness of Nature’s impending doldrum days. Man, it is absolutely different even from Aberdeen, where everyone is more focused on enjoying to loathe everything they see, complaining about their life’s miserableness at the pub’s stool; instead of thinking, you know, «fuck, look at the map on where we live, all that it takes is a sea’s bad day for us to be completely wiped out… shit, let’s stop complaining about Cameron a bit».
Thus, Iceland is this silent combination of ongoing peace and imminent disaster. Nature is everywhere, echoing, vocalizing at you. All your senses start to bloom like never before, as most towns where people congregate in this post-industrial era tend to clog them with exhaust fumes, mechanical bleating and ambulance sirens going bollocks. Not in Iceland. Your self-awareness flourishes as the day moves on and then there is this egotistical side of your brain which starts blabbing in you ear «I think I might belong here». But that’s just the envy for the locals, right. Even the Icelandic language, cryptic and much influenced by the Old Norse, sounds like it is coming directly from tree branches and basaltic soils.
All of this to say that I’m deeply glad to have found about Hafdís Bjarnadóttir, a Reykjavik-based composer who has released this year “Sounds Of Iceland”, a beautiful field recordings album. It has no people-derived sounds, as if you’re listening to a pre-human age. Solely lava fields, waterfalls, birds, lakes, the sea and, of course, the iconic geysers. I’m in love with this right now and I might, if there’s still time, to throw it in my best-of-the-year list. It is a captivating effort and I guess that I’ll keep following Gruenrekorder to see if there’s more incoming, seems like a quite interesting label.