Kjartan Sveinsson ~ The Last Farm

The Last Farm is one of the shortest releases we’ve ever covered, but we’re always interested in anything related to Sigur Rós.  Kjartan Sveinsson recorded this score in 2004, and the film was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award; the score has simply taken forever to see the light of day.  2016’s Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen was one of our favorite releases of that year, and while we’re waiting for new material from Sveinsson, this nugget will suffice.

The film is bittersweet, melancholy, and a bit morbid; it can be screened below.  Don’t read the comments, which give away the ending pretty quickly.  You’ll only need a quarter hour of patience.  Let’s just say that “the farm” has more than one meaning.

Sveinsson’s score is a string production in five moments.  Half the length of the film, it still manages to catch its subtleties.  The first movement starts slowly, giving little away, but there’s a tiny lilt at the end, obscuring expectations of the narrative arc.  As the cello takes on a greater role, one begins to suspect a dark future.  Icelanders are known for their pride, their hardy stock, and a type of humor that one may miss, refusing to tug at the edges of the mouth.  The waltz of the fourth movement seems nostalgic, an intellectual reverie as the protagonist takes stock.  The tempo quickens in the final movement as events set in motion claim their own velocity.  A mind is set.  The plan will not be interrupted.  Once more, a comedic nuance is introduced, reflecting the final scene; some cultures may not see the humor.

After Sveinsson left Sigur Rós in 2013, the band’s timbre shifted into new territories, to mixed reception.  Everyone still seems to get along, as evidenced by the band’s support of the new EP.  While Sveinsson has continued to score films and exhibitions since then, The Last Farm breaks a long absence from the public eye.  We can only hope a new masterpiece is on its way.  (Richard Allen)

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