Release Date: 09.25.07
You've most likely never heard of Valgeir Sigurðsson (God knows I hadn't), but you've definitely heard him. He's been in the background, collaborating and producing music since the mid 90's. Just a cursory look at his credits includes some big names (Björk & Matthew Barney) to some smaller, but still quality artists (Maps, Múm, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy). So, it is only logical that after 10 years in the background he's ready to step out on his own. His first solo work, Ekvílibríum, is being released on his own boutique label Bedroom Community - and it's quite a stunner, albeit a slowburning one.
At first, I was less than enthusiastic with it's Fridge meets Björk meets Portishead meets Múm aesthetic, but then I realized (read: I checked his bio) that this dude was behind most of that music; music that I liked. So, a few listens later, I was noticing it's finer points: interesting and unique programming, a good amount of real instrumentation, quality guest artists (Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Dawn McCarthy) and the whole album just made me feel like everything was okay.
The overall feel of the piece is subtle, melodic and a bit on the melancholy side. With the stand-out tracks being the two nostalgia tinged Bonnie 'Prince' Billy songs ("Evolution of Waters" and "Kin") and Dawn McCarthy's (of Faun Fables) beautifully haunting vocals on "Winter Sleep," Ekvílibríum is a stunning journey of an album. Once you get used to it, the album seems to take on the same familiarity you get with newly broken-in sneakers; it's comfortable.
It's obvious that Valgeir put a tremendous amount of work into this album and it has served him well. His influences are clearly visible (Sigúr Ros, Múm, the cool intensity of Portishead and Massive Attack) and fans of those artists should find this a quality addition to their library. Either as some comforting background music or as the soundtrack to your commute home at night, Ekvílibríum should get you through feeling calm, content and (a little) reflective.