HUGAR, the Icelandic modern compositional duo of childhood friends Bergur Þórisson and Pétur Jónsson, who we last examined in these pages in regard to their arthouse film soundtrack The Vasulka Effect (read about that, here), are set to return in the first, budding days of 2022 with an album entitled Rift: an album written with the initial concept stemming from the tectonic faultline that runs through the Þingvellir national park 40 km northeast of Reykavik.
Of course, the idea of a rift is one that can be applied in many milieux outside the purely geological. What happens when you pull things apart? wondered the pair: songs, ideas; countries even? What is left in the void? What grows in the fractures? They began to think of the rift as a tabula rasa, a place to begin. .
“There’s something almost magical about a powerful force literally ripping the land apart, and new life appearing in the space that’s created,” says Bergur.
“We wanted to translate that scenario onto these great, temporal shifts and upheaval in our world and ask: What happens? There must be something new that grows from them.” adds Pétur.
Witness the first track to be culled from Rift: afforded the lower case of “volt”, it’s the most nuanced glide of a simple, pulsing electronica figure, gently propelling forward with piano, drone textures, a massive sense of peace and new growth, arresting the breath.
We’re told Rift sees Bergur and Pétur applying themselves with acuity at manipulating the soundscapes; something wholly evident on the basis of “volt”. Expect what you hear to seem familiar but to gradually reveal itself as something that isn’t exactly what you think.
Bergur and Pétur have forged a joint sonic aesthetic since childhood and have, of course worked with fellow Íslendingar Björk, Sigur Rós, Ólafur Arnalds and Johann Johannson, with their self-titled debut emerging independently in 2014.
Rift is their first full-length release on Sony’s XXIM imprint and their third in total, and follows May’s Þjóðlög / Folk Songs’ EP for the label.
Hugar also have some European dates coming up, with one Latvian date later this month being followed by a further half-dozen in February. Those dates are as follows:
Saturday, November 27th, Cēsis Concert Hall, Cesis, Latvia;
Friday, February 18th, 2022, Nova Cvernoka, Bratislava, Slovakia;
Saturday, February 19th, Garden Wonder, Budapest, Hungary;
Sunday, February 20th, Klub, Krakow, Poland;
Monday, February 21st, BARdzo, Warzawa, Poland;
Wednesday, February 23rd, Nachtasy, Hamburg, and
Wednesday, March 3rd, St. Pancras Church, London.