Published Aug 07, 2014Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir is well known for her collaborations with the likes of Fever Ray, Throbbing Gristle, Pan Sonic, Hauschka and múm, among others, but her solo work has tended towards the true solo. Even on her fourth solo album, only one track features another musician; the six-string fretted cello of Skúli Sverrisson resonates through two grand pianos on "Heima." "Heyr Himnasmiðu" was written by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson, with lyrics by Kolbeinn Tumason, and a few tracks were recorded by Francesco Donadello (who also helped mix the whole thing at Vox-Ton Studio in Berlin), but the rest of Saman was composed, performed and recorded by Guðnadóttir herself.
The sound, while sparse and haunting in line with her other albums, rips apart the seams between Guðnadóttir's groaning cello and her angelic voice. The cello sounds closer to the human voice than almost every other classical instrument, so it's a natural fit on paper, but few others could meld them so evocatively as Guðnadóttir did, and with such little help. That personal nature is what really brings Saman together. (Touch)