Version 2.3. What you hear is what you get.



I think that no one will argue with me when I say that the work of Icelandic artists is unique in many ways.

Many factors certainly have an impact on this state of affairs. The climate and surrounding nature is one of the most important. Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson is a very good example to illustrate this phenomenon. Getting to know his work, we immediately hear and realize how much inspiration from nature has on the final result of his music.

The artist himself, defining his compositions, emphasizes that he tries to make the sounds he creates a reflection of the beauty of the world around him. In simple sequences, reflecting the sound of nature, he finds the truth and, above all, wants the music, like water, to flow softly through the listener, leaving a sense of harmony in him. And harmony is definitely an important word when it comes to this artist. For “yagya” (in English “yajna”) is a concept meaning “sacrifice” in the Vedic tradition of Hinduism. Without going into details, it describes the oldest form of religious worship, which (among many other meanings) was intended to strengthen social harmony and the bond between humans and gods. I have the impression that in the case of Guðmundsson it is about deepening our relationship with nature, and the link thanks to which this is possible at all is music.

There is a high risk that this way of talking about one’s work may scare away a potential recipient, but this would only happen if it would be an untrue description and completely incompatible with what Yagya composes. All four albums that Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson has released so far are extremely coherent and thoughtful. Starting with “Rhythm of Snow” (2002), through “Will I Dream During The Process?” (2006) and my favorite “Rigning” (2009), and ending with a slightly different from the others “The Inescapable Decay Of My Heart” (2012), the artist consistently transforms the way he treats the world into sounds.

The most important thing, however, is how the music sounds that emerges from such a detailed description. What Yagya creates, of course, can be classified as dub techno, but without pushing him too much to put him in this line. The pulse is definitely present in his compositions, although sometimes it seems to hide, blur through the softness and delicacy of the other elements included in the works. On the other hand, the description of Guðmundsson’s music as ambient leaves a certain insufficiency. However, there is nothing wrong with the inability to clearly define his work. It only proves that despite his undisguised fascination and inspiration from legends such as Basic Channel or Brian Eno, Yagya has developed his own unique style, which (looking at the discography) he does not intend to change. Following his career, one can risk saying that the only “revolution” that has taken place in his approach to music is the fact that vocals appeared on the last album (which has never happened before). While I can agree with the statement that it was a very audible change, I think that it did not mean so much in relation to his work assessed as a whole. In the music, there was simply an additional track, this time vocal, but the instrumental layer still remained in the same, “yagy” tone.

I am very interested in how the career of this Icelandic producer will develop further. Will Guðmundsson go in a new direction, or will he go back to what captivated me on the album “Rigning”. To uncomplicated music, but one that enveloped the senses like fluff with a warm and balanced sound. Yagya has already announced that his fifth album will be released in early 2014. All that remains for me is to wait patiently and when the album sees the light of day, I will share with you my impression of it as soon as possible.

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