A Closer Listen tends to be positive in its reviews, so sometimes it’s difficult to tell which releases we like more than others. This page lets you know what we’re listening to and enjoying the most.
Kjartan Sveinsson – Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen (Bel-Air Glamour Records and Vinyl Factory)
This stunning four-part opera comes from a former member of Sigur Rós, whose solo career is already blossoming. The Explosive Sonics of Divinity is inspired by a Laxness novel and reflects the national character of Iceland. It’s also one of the year’s best orchestral / choral blends, and is available on double 10″ with painted art from Sveinsson.
Ólafur Arnalds ~ Island Songs (Mercury Classics)
Finally out in physical release, the CD/DVD combo includes the full film and a bonus track. Island Songs is a labor of love, conceived by Arnalds this past summer as he travelled around Iceland to collaborate with friends and family members. The result is an audio-visual treat.
Wang Wen ~ Sweet Home, Go! (Pelagic Records)
Want the biggest riffs this side of Mono, along with tender breakdowns and a modern composition sheen? Look no further than Wang Wen’s 9th album, a post-rock masterpiece that incorporates strings and brass to great effect. Save for the final choral piece, it’s all instrumental, with no rough edges to break the mood.
Machinefabriek ~ Crumble (Self-released)
Another winner from the man who never rests, Crumble is a 34-minute piece that unfolds like a mini-opera, with turns from Anne Bakker (violin) and Edika Karkoschka (vocals). Through it all, Rutger Zuydervelt’s electronics decorate the track with everything from static pops to expansive drones.