Viktor Orri Árnason and Yair Elazar Glotman - VAST
Label Bedroom Community Released August 30, 2019
The pair’s first collaboration captures one evening of unconventional violin, viola, and double bass improvisations
Icelandic composer and conductor Viktor Orri Árnason and Berlin-based composer, musician, and sound artist Yair Elazar Glotman have announced details of their forthcoming collaborative album VAST, released digitally via Bedroom Community on August 30th 2019 . Comprising five tracks of intimate, single-take recordings of violin, viola, and double bass improvisation, the album chronicles the pair’s first meeting over a single evening in Berlin.
VAST is as much an exploration of sound as it is a faithful reproduction of a specific performance. From the scrapes and rattles that precede the booming sub bass of album opener “Eruption” until forlorn closing track “Hljóð” grinds itself to a halt, the album bristles with the lesser-heard sounds of stringed instruments: Screeches of flesh on steel and the otherwise-muted buzzings of wooden bridges permeate – and at times overwhelm – the more conventionally captured sounds that carry the bulk of VAST’s emotional weight.
Prior to the album’s recording, Viktor and Yair had not met in person, though both contributed to the late Jóhann Jóhannsson's 2017 remix of “Solari” for Ryuichi Sakamoto. It was at the encouragement of the former that they decided to finally meet and play together.
Setting up at two ends of Viktor’s Kreuzberg studio, and separated only by an array of carefully positioned microphones, the two artists set out with no fixed aim beyond feeding off of each other’s creative energies and recording the results. By monitoring their effected performances through headphones in real time, the pair were able to isolate and respond to both the subtle nuances of each other’s playing and specific details of each instrument’s sound. It’s this process of reactive improvisation that led to the unorthodox arrangements and unique timbres of VAST.
The resulting audio was cut into five tracks and mixed predominantly by Yair and Viktor in Berlin. Additional mixing, along with the album’s mastering, was completed by Valgeir Sigurðsson at Greenhouse Recording Studios, Iceland.
"I’m happy and excited to invite Viktor and Yair into the fold of the Bedroom Community as we, on our HVALREKI series, release what is essentially the result of their very first collaboration. VAST elegantly captures the spirit of a first time meeting between musicians who are very well aware of their own capacity, but are at the same time wandering through the unexpected and responding to what the other person has to offer in that collaborative space. The result is intimate, moving, and at the same time more expansive than the forces would suggest."