Original work by Marc Urselli

Ísbird

This is a short extract. The full piece is 13'37".

An ode to Iceland, these bubbling rhythms are composed entirely of treated field recordings of immense landscapes of water and ice, volcanic core, and transformational geothermal energy. Sounds of crashing waves, bubbling streams, gurgling pools, boiling springs, roaring waterfalls, exploding geysers and bird calls become a voyage into the barren, frozen and magical landscape and the free spirits that inhabit it.

The recited poem, by Guðmundur Bergþórsson (1657–1705) is as much about the landscape as it is about the birds who inhabit it, narrated by a mystical, long-haired elf, one of the Huldufólk -“Hidden People” - who make themselves visible at will.

Throughout the poem, the snipe bird performs a display of “winnowing” courtship, flying high in circles above the elves to then take shallow dives, vibrating its tail feathers to produce a “drumming” sound that is akin to both a sonar and the bleating of a goat (the Finnish call the snipe taivaanvuohi, "the sky goat"). The pace of the Huldufólk poetry reading represents the inexorable passing of time and the intertwined discourse between the elf narrator and the song of the birds. The voice summons the spirit of the birds, hovering over the windy cliffs in seemingly random and even perilous movements, yet completely and peacefully in control of their flight, a metaphor for this potent, gripping land's enormous power within, and the pagan symbolism locked within this piece.

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