Archora / Aiōn

Eva Ollikainen, Iceland Symphony Orchestra

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(2 customer reviews)
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Archora/Aion is the 4th Stereo DSD album from the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at Native DSD Music. This new release features music composed by Anna Thorvaldsdottir. Sono Luminus says “We’re thrilled to release the newest recordings of Anna’s works, performed by the Iceland Symphony & led by Eva Ollikainen.”

The core inspiration behind Archora centers around the notion of a primordial energy and the idea of an omnipresent parallel realm – a world both familiar and strange, static and transforming, nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The piece revolves around the extremes on the spectrum between the Primordia and its resulting afterglow – and the conflict between these elements that are nevertheless fundamentally one and the same. The halo emerges from the Primordia but they have both lost perspective and the connection to one another, experiencing themselves individually as opposing forces rather than one and the same.

Aion is inspired by the abstract metaphor of being able to move freely in time, of being able to explore time as a space that you inhabit rather than experiencing it as a one-directional journey through a single dimension. Disorienting at first, you realize that time extends simultaneously in all directions and whenever you feel like it, you can access any moment. As you learn to control the journey, you find that the experience becomes different by taking different perspectives – you can see every moment at once, focus on just some of them, or go there to experience them. You are constantly zooming in and out, both in dimension and perspective. Some moments you want to visit more than others, noticing as you revisit the same moment, how your perception of it changes. This metaphor is connected to a number of broader background ideas in relation to the work: How we relate to our lives, to the ecosystem, and to our place in the broader scheme of things, and how at any given moment we are connected both to the past and to the future, not just of our own lives but across – and beyond – generations.

“As with my music generally, the inspiration behind Archora and Aion is not something I am trying to describe through the music or what the music is “about”, as such. Inspiration is a way to intuitively tap into parts of the core energy, structure, atmosphere and material of the music I am writing each time. It is a fuel for the musical ideas to come into existence, a tool to approach and work with the fundamental materials, the ideas and sensations, that provide and generate the initial spark to the music – the various sources of inspiration are ultimately effective because I perceive qualities in them that I find musically captivating. I do often spend quite a bit of time finding ways to articulate some of the important elements of the musical ideas or thoughts that play certain key roles in the origin of each piece but the music itself does not emerge from a verbal place, it emerges as a stream of consciousness that flows, is felt, sensed, shaped and then crafted. So inspiration is a part of the origin story of a piece, but in the end the music stands on its own.”

– Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Composer


Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Eva Ollikainen – Conductor

Tracklist

Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
1.
Archora
20:51
2.
Aion: I. Morphosis
13:15
3.
Aion: II. Transcension
16:48
4.
Aion: III. Entropia
10:53

Total time: 01:01:47

Additional information

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DSL92268

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Original Recording Format

Release DateJuly 21, 2023

Press reviews

Burning Ambulance

The Iceland Symphony Orchestra has released an album featuring two Anna Thorvaldsdottir compositions, the 21-minute, single-movement “Archora” and the three-movement, 41-minute “Aiōn.”

I don’t know of anyone else making music like this right now. It has an extraordinary, overwhelming effect on me, but I think that’s because I come to it from several directions at once.

I can hear connections to Gustav Mahler and Jean Sibelius, but it also draws me in by reminding me of Sunn O’s “Alice,” Charles Mingus’s Let My Children Hear Music, Laibach’s Krst Pod Triglavom/Baptism, and Dimmu Borgir’s Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. If those are your aesthetic sweet spots, too, then the dark forest of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music awaits you. Get in there.

Reykavík Grapevine

The experience of listening to Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Archora / Aion is as discomfiting as it is jaw-dropping. In the truest sense of the word, it is awesome.

In case you not familiar with her, Anna is the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s composer-in-residence and has internationally celebrated and sought-out for well over a decade. Her latest release with Sono Luminus is a portrait album of her orchestral works ARCHORA (2022) and AIŌN (2018) performed by the ISO and led by Chief Conductor Eva Ollikainen.

They are overwhelmingly intense and fascinating pieces of music that one can get completely lost in, and perfectly portray just how unique her work is.

A Closer Listen

Over the past decade, Anna Thorvaldsdottir has slowly and steadily become one of the world’s finest composers ~ and she’s done it the hard way, without soundtracks or singles. On Archora/Aionthe contrast between immersive depths and sudden, euphoric heights creates narrative arcs without words, and certain passages are the most memorable of her career.

2 reviews for Archora / Aiōn

    Incredible!!!! One of the best albums I’ve heard in the last 3 years. The music is so…… captivating.

    It is impossible to overstate just how excellent this work is. This recording has opened up a whole new world to me I come back to visit frequently. Based on this release alone, I would travel to Iceland to see this performed live.

    I hope that more work composed by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra makes its way to Native DSD.

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