Icelandic artist makes with the mellow cello.
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.