OK Computer Music by Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson

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Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson | OK Computer Music
Some (CD)

This new one from Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson is a quasi self-produced in a limited edition of only 100, and likely only available via the artist directly. If you are unfamiliar with the Icelandic artist (who may be based in Belgium or Germany these days), his output since the mid 90s has been exceptional, and has consistently slipped through the cracks of the underground. Recommended listening would most definitely start with his work as part of the duo under the moniker Stilluppsteypa. OK Computer Music has arrived, consisting of a single forty-seven minute track, New Music (sounds familiar?).

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Caught between a broken lullaby and an orchestral warm-up, this slowly begins to divert into something far more cosmic. In addition to his own electronic manipulations  Sigmarsson features Arnljótur Sigurðsson, Dan Melchior and as “secret guest” Leif Elggren. The listener is lured into a realm of jet engine style drone that seems grounded but has a lot of flare and a bit of fury (or are they some kind of voices from beyond?). If this were a completely resampled inside-out physical analysis of Radiohead’s 1997 break-out album (not extending street cred, just making free associations) it doesn’t sound anything like it. Assumptions aside, instead this treads in the field of post-Dada existentialism. It’s music, but it’s not because it’s noise, and vice versa. But OK Computer Music is less ‘about’ something specific at all – except taking you through a mystical chamber of gurgles, of organ-like riffs pointing towards the past (meaning in reverse), quick, quick, slow.

It does remind me, at times, of a collection of field recordings and altered b-movie space soundtracks (Liquid Sky comes to mind). This is cut from a distinct cloth, that wraps round and round your torso until you are shrouded in its quirky guise of no return. But this is not a noise record, it’s far less in control of its own variation on racket as it howls and hums midway through over what could be (but likely isn’t) bagpipes. I am a slave to the deduced effects that clang and pop, bobble and otherwise create a sonically charged discordant field of aural animation. You’ll just keep guessing, so stop thinking and listen carefully.

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When this record goes quiet, it’s not at all silent, it moreso drifts on the wind with the human voice, stripped down to the barest murmur, elongated to the nth degree. This is where things go deep down into the depths of music with an emphasis aligned for both the meditative, and the paranormal psychologists among us. It’s like an open stream that towards the end is truncated by a reverberating clang, as the motion slows and grows upward and outward. As the layers grow larger, the drone bloats like an over-amplified pipe organ only to wallow away like a fine mist. The final dozen minutes is a form of recuperation, with minimal knocks and tunnel-like ventilation running through space.

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