Jón Þór Birgisson – better known simply as Jónsi – is a purveyor of impossibly beautiful sounds, whether with the phenomenal Sigur Rós or through his collaborations with Alex Somers or, through Dark Morph, with Carl Michael von Hausswolff. Von Hauddwolff is a Swedish composer using the audio recorder as his main instrument and as a conceptual visual artist working with performance art, light- and sound installations and photography.
Apparently the two met aboard the M/Y Dardanella ship in Fiji invited by the TBA21 Academy in 2018. The TBA21 Academy engages art with activism to raise awareness for the oceans and the ship is a creative platform equipped with sound and video recording systems. The result of the duo’s first voyage was released in May 2019 at the Biennale di Venezia in the form of an album ‘Dark Morph’.
‘Dark Wave’ is a track of off the duo’s second album ‘Dark Morph II’ due out through Pomperipossa Records on 1 May 2020, and is an enthralling evocative soundscape of recordings of whales and shrimp in the Pacific Ocean mixed with sounds from the ship and distorted vocals set to a hypnotic beat.
This paints a delectable soundscape (which absolutely must be listed to with headphones) that literally swims and cavorts through your head like the sea creatures it records and captures. And yet somehow, with the distorted vocals and circular incessant beats, there is an ominous subtext – a warning of impeding doom. Captivating stuff indeed.
The release is dedicated to the oceans of planet earth and to the lifeforms that live in and around them, with the duo stating:
The exploitation of the oceans, in conjunction with the heavy pollution (from plastic waste to nuclear radio-activity) has to stop, and be replaced by collaborative manners co-operating with all life on or globe.
‘Dark Morph II’ track list:
Dive In (19:56)
Humpback Whale Choir (8:07)
Dark Wave (3:51)
You can pre-order the album here.