Icelandic theremin maestra Hekla returns with charastically sparse and haunting new EP Sprungur, following her acclaimed 2018 debut Á.
Hekla’s delicate, spectral music pierces the dark negative space within Iceland’s dreamy, permanight magick and folklore with a deep, intense sonic soundworld all her own. A long-term scholar of solo theremin, Hekla (shortened from her own name Hekla Magnúsdóttir) coaxes otherworldly and powerfully evocative sounds from her instrument, alternately howling and yearning with equal grace. Her songwriting and performance are totally unique: no-one uses the theremin as she does. Indeed, very few can.
Her debut album Á was released by Phantom Limb in 2018, attracting high praise for its beautifully expressive range and its eloquent spareness. Sprungur - her first new music since then - develops her palette to include gently reverberated piano lines and subtle synth parts alongside the theremin and her own ghostly vocal delivery. Opening single “Tvö þrjú Slit” begins as a haunted waltz, the forgotten memory of an abandoned ballroom, trading its melody between voice and theremin. “Sofðu Unga Ástin Mín” is an arrangement of a traditional Icelandic lullaby (Hekla writes that it “always scared me out when I was little” - you can see why). Its mournful theremin melody blooms amid a garden of dulcet synthesis and twinkling piano. And within the lyrics lies the line “Í jöklinum hljóða dauðadjúpar sprungur” [Eng: In the glacier rumbles deadly deep cracks], from which Hekla took the title of the EP, exploring the imagery of great mythical beasts inhabiting the earth and causing deep fissures from their rumbling movements.
the tiny moments we all take for granted, in music and in life, amplified and magnified, forcing us to confront the uncomfortable, the mundane, the sublime. what more can be said of flawlessness? Matt Nichols