Ice­landic artist makes with the mel­low cello.

Prog - - Intro -

af­ter leav­ing Ice­landic ex­per­i­men­tal­ists múm early in their ca­reer, Gyða Valtýs­dót­tir fo­cused on her cello stud­ies. She’s since worked with a host of names, from The Kronos Quar­tet to the Dess­ner brothers from The Na­tional. Her 2016 solo de­but in­cluded rad­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Schu­bert, Schu­mann and oth­ers, and won mul­ti­ple awards in her home­land, so it’s no sur­prise that Evo­lu­tion aims high and smacks of class. If it seems too pre­cious on first lis­ten, pa­tience is re­warded with sub­tle em­a­na­tions of gos­samer emo­tion so del­i­cate that they bor­der on the spec­tral. Her high vo­cal weaves among blurred, twilit forests of strings and elec­tronic purrs, with that cello often pro­vid­ing the gate­way in (or out). While it might seem lazy to com­pare an Ice­landic woman to Björk, there is a sonic link, with mood more im­por­tant than melody. There are flick­ers of Lau­rie An­der­son too. The al­bum was recorded in New York and LA and the artist was at first con­fused by how ef­fort­lessly it came into be­ing. So un­der­stated is it that a de­gree more ef­fort is re­quired to find its heart be­neath all the med­i­ta­tion-class shim­mer­ing and iri­des­cence, but if you peer long enough, it’s there.

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