Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, better known as Kira Kira, is a visual artist, composer and producer who creates sound sculptures with a focus on experimentation, new technologies and group improvisation.
Collaborative practise has been a key aspect in Kira’s development throughout the years, and each new cooperation seems to bring out something new in her work.
“I like to create soundscapes and invite other musicians to come and improvise with me in that world of sounds.” she says. “I create the sounds from scratch, or they come from live audio recordings. It’s a bit like creating your own meal from the herbs in your garden—you’ve sown the seeds, and you know their origin, and there is a satisfaction that comes with that.”
A surprise album
The latest fruit of this practise is ‘UNA.’ The album came together quickly, arriving just a year after her 2018 release ‘Alchemy and Friends.’ “This album is a total surprise,” she says. “My other albums took five years to create, because I’m meticulous; I like to have all the details perfectly aligned.”
It began when Kira was approached by Andrew Hargreaves of The Tape Loop Orchestra to make an album on his Letra Rec label, as part of a series celebrating long-form music. The Tape Loop Orchestra treated some of her choral samples, running them through tape machines. The resulting album is a deeply peaceful listen. “It’s a bit of a sanctuary,” says Kira. “I’d like people to lie on the floor with closed eyes and just let it wash over them.”
Kira has been meditating for seven years and has long thought of making music that supports meditation practice. In fact, the songs on ‘UNA’ are based on mantras she wrote with her collaborators. One such mantra is “A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.”
“When I saw these lines for the first time, it was like everything around me just stopped,” says Kira. “I found myself reading them over and over again, and they felt like medicine. It was like finally stumbling onto something that helps you, in a way that something actually physically moves in your thought system, and your emotional structure. It had an irreversible impact.”
Kira has several other projects on the go, including recording music for the third series of ‘Dream Corp LLC’ by Daniel Stessen—a surreal hybrid sci-fi animation that takes place in a dream therapy laboratory—and working with Orri Jónsson and Davíð Hörgdal Stefánsson on a documentary about the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Yet another project is ‘Motions Like These’—a collaboration with LA-based musician Eskmo, due for release next month. “It has a very different energy from ‘UNA,’” says Kira. “There’s a lot of speed and power, joy, colours, and percussion. We wanted it to be the best of Eskmo and the best of Kira, like a third animal. The danger in collaborations where two producers meet fifty-fifty is that there’s too much compromise. We were mindful of that trap and sailed right over it to create something that contains the best of both worlds.”
Despite her busyness, Kira is keen to stay present and light-hearted in her work. “Playfulness is everything,” she finishes. “That’s something that I make a point of nurturing in everything I do—because life is serious enough as it is.”
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