“SONG FOR EWE”
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. I first experienced the magical power of the old yet future modern instrument known as the theremin up close when I saw Jon Spencer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion dance around it flicking out his hands around its antenna like a conjuror as he made it wail and scream like sci-fi guitar feedback. Of course, I became aware of its provenance in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s caterwauling Doctor Who theme and as the literal vibrations in Beach Boys smash hit ahem “Good Vibrations”. Today’s guest is an expeditious exponent of the theremin and all of its otherworldly charm. From Iceland, another uniquely singular place whose terrain could well be lunar, she has an album called “Á”, out September 14th through Phantom Limb Records that she describes as “minimalist sci-fi” and it is the most avant of gardes. Welcome to VS, Hekla!
Have a watch of the spooky video for ‘Ekki Er Allt Gull Sem Glóir’, directed by Logi Hilmarsson, and inspired by the films of Georges Méliès and F. W. Murnau’s silent fantasy Faust…
Hekla lives in Berlin now and her music is equally inspired by Iceland’s literally dark folklore as it is by Berlin’s own burgeoning electronic scene (albeit without the beats). The music of “Á” feels literally haunting, and esoteric in a way that will appeal to fans of Julia Holter, Colleen or recently passed fellow Icelander Jóhann Jóhannsson and his distinctive film scores. The theremin is by its very nature gothic, baroque and unnerving and with Hekla’s own unsettling glacial yet expansive tone, this is music made for the widescreen.
The album was written and self-recorded by Hekla and features Icelandic polymath Mr Silla (a part-time múm member) and was mixed/mastered by Tallinn-based engineer Jose Diogo Neves – a stalwart of Icelandic and Portuguese music.
But what beguiling nugget did Hekla choose as a “song for ewe”? Without further ado…
“Sigríður Níelsdóttir started making music at 70 and made 59 albums in 6 years, making her one of the most productive musicians in Iceland. In 2011 a documentary about her was made called Amma Lo-Fi or Grandma Lo-Fi. You can check it out through Vimeo!
“Elsku litla Jesúbarn” by Sigríður Níelsdóttir:
You can see Hekla play live soon:
15th October – London, UK @ Jazz Servant Quarters
16th October – Bristol, UK @ The Cube
25th October – Berlin, DE @ Ausland
13th December – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
More info on Hekla’s website
THANKS TO HEKLA AND TO KEN LI AT PHANTOM LIMB