From Iceland — New Facets To The Melting Diamond: Benni Hemm Hemm's Composed Improvisations

New Facets To The Melting Diamond: Benni Hemm Hemm’s Composed Improvisations

New Facets To The Melting Diamond: Benni Hemm Hemm’s Composed Improvisations

Published March 9, 2022

John Pearson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

When asked to tell us about his new album, Benni Hemm Hemm, (Benedikt Hermann Hermannsson, to his mum), couldn’t have been more obliging. His job was to paint some word-images of the four tracks on “Benni Hemm Hemm & the Melting Diamond Band II”, which he did beautifully. But then he also offered to do The Grapevine’s job by writing the intro as well.

“I just found a description about the Melting Diamond Band which I’d written as a fake Grapevine quote,” he told us. “God knows why I did that. Maybe you would like to see it and make it a real Grapevine quote?”

Urrrmmm yeah…. sure.

“How Hermannsson keeps this gang in one place long enough to make a recording—let alone play like they do—is a miracle.”

“The Melting Diamond Band is the latest live operation of Icelandic musician Benni Hemm Hemm. Somehow Mr. Hemm Hemm has found every drug addict ghost gang member on the streets of Reykjavík with a wisp of musical talent, and gathered them for this wonderful mess. These really are dangerous people, so stay away. How Hermannsson keeps this gang in one place long enough to make a recording—let alone play like they do—is a miracle. But really; do stay away.”

Bravo! And since you’re on a roll, please do continue…

“This is the second in a series of Melting Diamond Band releases by Mengi Records which, like ‘Church/School’ before it, consists of recordings that are somewhere between compositions and free improvisation. They start with improvisation, which calls for more layers of improvisation and at some point the work takes shape and starts to dictate its own rules.

“‘BHH & t MDB II’ has four tracks which are made in exactly that way. They have a will of their own, and to know more about them you will have to ask them.”

Ya just gotta love a gold lamé tom – photo by Art Bicnick

Flying Messiaen

“The Messiaen is flying on heavy shots of thick strings. Stuck in the deliriously high ceiling of the gothic church. Escapes and narrowly passes the grey spirits and flies into the woods. The season is uncertain. Freedom is burdened with blurry fear.”

Foxy Cha Cha

“Mud and darkness, smiles under melted snow. The water comes from the mountain, the mountain lives under the moon and nothing can move. Everything is stuck in its place. The mud is set. The darkness is here forever.”

Calypso

“Choir is hidden between bricks with no time to worry about shopping. In Europe eyes are blinked, and the air straight over the heads of the guilty disappears with a sudden blow which makes the sky green, and the souls of still drivers fly away. The screams cannot be heard.”

Mass

“A dance on wet ground. Light foot, heavy mud. Swings and voices, fire and screams choked. A gathering in the woods, a gathering in the church. Get the bodies in one place, all the muscles and fluids. All Mass.”

And guess what! You can stream this album on all the usual platforms, with limited edition vinyl available below. Also, Benni launches the new album with a gig at Mengi on Thursday March 10th.

Easter is coming, and we now have Icelandic Easter eggs back in stock in our online shop!

Benni Hemm Hemm – photo by BIG

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!