One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

(OST of the film by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson)

Hilmar Örn HILMARSSON (b. 1958)
The Black Dog and the Scottish Play
Over the Bend
Journey to the Underworld
On the Road
Another Memory
Schiller in China
Te Morituri…
Bíum Bíum Bambaló *
Death Announcements and Funerals *
Szymon Kuran, violin
Kristján Eldjárn, guitar
Birgir Baldursson and Sigttryggur Baldursson, percussion
Tómas M. Tómasson, bass
* written and performed by Sigur Rós
Recorded in Hljodhver Althydhunnar and Studio Syrlandi *, Iceland.
Krúnk/Fat Cat FATOST-CD01 [41.10]

Another classic production by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the Icelandic aural conjurer I last reviewed here in relation to his production on Steindór Andersen's groundbreaking Rímur disc. Here he is again in collaboration with film director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's, after their previous triumph on Children of Nature. This score has much in common with the previous one, offering a lot to lovers of "Holy Minimalism" (a term I use for convenience but through gritted teeth), experimental/reflective folk based music (e.g. Alan Stivell), superior soundtracks (ECM/Karaindrou, Heat, Bladerunner) and even Bach. The emphasis this time is on slightly softer sounds, with more acoustic guitar in evidence, but the melancholic, wistful atmosphere is still all pervading.

The packaging includes both an "in memoriam" to a recently departed and short lived friend and a quote from Hildegard von Bingen, which are both in keeping with the mood of the music. The titles of the individual pieces may mean more when related directly to the film but range from the (willingly?) bland/opaque, Colours, Memory, to the expressive but still mystery laden (Schiller in China, The Black Dog and the Scottish Play - the latter an obvious reference to Macbeth though in what context I'm not sure without seeing the film). Journey to the Underworld is probably the most overtly emotive track, with Szymon Kuran's intense violin sound at its centre. The final masterstroke is the inclusion of tracks by avant electro-folk group Sigur Rós, who have collaborated with both Hilmarsson and Steindór Andersen before and here unleash two linked, (electric) guitar and percussion driven laments, one with vocals and one instrumental, which might seem slightly incongruous but will also strike you as some of the most heartrending "rock" music ever recorded - imagine Joy Division's New Dawn Fades in an Icelandic falsetto and you may be quite close. The closing instrumental Death Announcements and Funerals is more of the same, a plaintive organ introduction leading to some cavernous guitar work - at once powerful and subtle - more Glenn Branca than Ozzy Osbourne for sure! If you enjoy this, their debut album Ágætis Byrjun, more so than more recent releases, contains much more of the same but also some milder moments.

Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson remains a great talent, in his choice of collaborations and his music - if you have yet to make his acquaintance this is as good a starter as any, especially since it may also lead you into the special sound world of Sigur Rós. Highly recommended.
Neil Horner.


We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.