The Search For The Ghost Duck: The Epic Journey Of Berghaim - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Search For The Ghost Duck: The Epic Journey Of Berghaim

The Search For The Ghost Duck: The Epic Journey Of Berghaim

Phil Uwe Widiger
Photos by
Svetlana Prigoditch

Berghaim is a character that is half-hidden and half-visible. The only thing that can be seen is his face, buried in the ground. Having spent most of his life in solitude, his life was shaped by the sounds that surround him, and to which he is constantly listening. His two best friends are ducks that come to hang out with him regularly, and to listen to him sing. They also study camouflage. When one duck disappears because it was already better at camouflage than the other duck, an epic search for “the ghost duck” ensues.

Welcome to the fantastical world of Berghaim.

A face in the earth

Bergur Thomas Anderson is the mastermind behind Berghaim. After playing in bands such as Grísalappalísa and Oyama, he has been focusing on performance art for the past few years. “When I moved to the Netherlands, all of a sudden I had nobody to make music with,” he remembers. “So I started writing music on my own, which evolved into making music for performance pieces.”

“With this project I was able to free myself from the burden of perfection.”

Berghaim—“a character who is essentially a face in the earth”—came into existence about a year ago when Bergur began researching camouflage theories. “I’ve always thought about him as a younger, more innocent earth, related to Iceland being a relatively recent geographical phenomena compared to the rest of the world,” Bergur explains. “By constantly listening to all the sounds around him, he has acquired knowledge and ideas about society and culture.”

After spending all those years since the formation of Iceland in solitude, Berghaim learned how to speak and sing on his own. Operating a pirate radio station that broadcasts a mix of sounds, he became the world’s first ever sound collage artist.

A voice in progress

This summer, Bergur had the opportunity to go record in a music studio in Rotterdam, using mainly the old synth and keyboard equipment available at the studio. The evolution of the songs was spontaneous, as Bergur was learning how to use the instruments at the same time he was recording. “With this project I was able to free myself from the burden of perfection, which is dominant in the making of a pop album,” he explains. Berghaim is a voice in progress, finding perfection in imperfection.

Of ghost ducks and magicians

The theme of the concept album, inspired by the practice of tarot, revolves around the epic journey of regaining something lost and growing through the journey itself. In Berghaim’s case, it is the search for one of his duck friends that disappeared. Along the way, the protagonists also meet “the hermit’s friend,” who is a magician and the gatekeeper to the underworld. He has the powers to make things disappear. Is the hermit’s friend the reason for the ghost duck’s disappearance?

Bergur aims to release Berghaim’s debut album “Songs From The Young Earth” before his performance at this year’s Iceland Airwaves music festival. Will the ghost duck be found? We’ll find out this November.

Berghaim is the solo-project of Bergur Thomas Anderson of Grísalappalísa and Oyama. Listen at Soundcloud and catch him live at Iceland Airwaves 2018


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