Hildur Gudnadottir has toured with Animal Collective, performed as part of Throbbing Gristle and worked with múm and Finish electronica duo Pan Sonic. She’s a classically trained cellist and choral singer from Icealand and this, her fourth solo album, features her twin skills as vocalist and cellist – the name, Saman, translates from Icelandic to mean together – so here she’s showing the two sides/instruments of her as performer/composer; these are those skills together then.
Enchanting wordless vocal songs (Heyr Himnadmidur) that hint at baroque textures and seem similar to Celtic folk forms mix with the slow-winding cello instrumentals (Baer) which reference her other work within music as a composer for theatre.
There are short, wistful moments (Til baka) and insightful passages where a simple, hopeful slice of melody peeks out from within the undulating rhythms (as on Torrek) and you realise that’s another version of the together this album represents, the melody and rhythm always conjured from just one instrument, relying on the work of Gudnadottir to coax both vestiges into place; in fact the melody and rhythm are reliant on one another. They arrive at the same time. They, er, come together.
A rather stunning album – despite the, um, climax, of this review.