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  • Writer's pictureAndy Wors

Hugar 🇮🇸 - ‘Rift’ (Album)

Not so much of a review today, more of a nudge in the direction of the new album ‘Rift’ by Icelandic duo Hugar, which I’ve really enjoyed listening to since it came out late in January.

Hugar consist of Bergur Þórisson and Pétur Jónsson, and they are both multi-instrumentalists, composers and producers of the project, which was formed some 10 years ago after forming a friendship in their local township of Seltjarnarnes, which is just North West of Reykjavik, surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean.

After working with other members of the music community in Iceland a decade ago (notably Ólafur Arnalds), they started working on demos that became their debut self titled album, and have since gone on to release film scores, a five-track EP called ‘Þjóðlög (Folk Songs) and ‘Rift’ is their latest, inspired not just by their surroundings, but the fact that Iceland is set in the midst of 2 tectonic plates.

Rift’ is a mesmerising and absorbing release, which opens quite placidly with ‘lost’, but then develops over 14 tracks, with a mix of classical, minimalist and ambient influences. ‘IV’ is a particularly lovely piano driven track, but for me ‘Solaris’ is a stand out, with gently pulsating beats and accompanying piano, before it explodes into life with a power that reminds us of the forces of nature. ’Far’ (they don’t go for the long track titles) builds with a really subtle intensity, whilst ‘XYZ’ feels like we’re taken deep into earth itself amongst the unstable fault lines themselves.

As expected ’Rift’ is an impressive release which has already had a great reception in Icelandic and International media, a cohesive composition which I think needs to be listened to in its entirely to be fully appreciated. I suspect I’ll have hours of listening enjoyment out of it over the rest of the year.

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