From Iceland — Bedroom Community: 5 Essential LPs From The Whale Watching Crew

Bedroom Community: 5 Essential LPs From The Whale Watching Crew

Published October 19, 2016

Photo by
Tomasz Wiech

Bedroom Community is one of Iceland’s best record labels. 2016 marks the tenth anniversary of BedCom’s foundation. During this time, they’ve released records by a tight-knit crew of experimental composers and musicians making noise music, alt-folk, contemporary composition and electronica—but, more importantly, they’ve consistently mapped out the rich territory between the genres.

In addition to our recent interview with the label’s newest addition, Jodie Landau, we’ve revisited five of their finest records. So whether you’re revisiting some old favourites, or discovering them for the first time, here are five pillars of the Bedroom Community.

Nico Muhly – Mothertongue
Mothertongue was an instant classic upon its release, boldly clashing together ideas of what song and composition can be, and how they can intertwine. Each of its three equally astounding parts were made with a key collaborator; the finale, made with Sam Amidon, is a heart-rending, mind-blowing adaptation of a simple folk song entitled ‘The Only Tune.’

Ben Frost – A U R O R A
I once overheard Ben Frost being asked: “What kind of music do you make?” After a loaded ten second pause, he answered, simply: “Loud.” ‘A U R O R A’ is the finest synthesis of his mission to date: a collection of super-powered tracks that threaten to break out of the speakers at any time. Live, Ben is a force to be reckoned with, reaching for moments of total noise that can teeter into the sublime.

Sam Amidon – All Is Well
At the other end of the volume spectrum sits Sam Amidon, an eccentric performer who grew up playing traditional (often Appalachian) folk songs. Moving to New York City to start afresh in an alt-rock band, he quickly found that it was the folk songs that struck a chord with people. The liner note: “All songs are traditional, public domain” is deceptively simple. First, Sam “recomposes” each song, before his gifted BedCom fellows add strings, brass, woodwind, and the label’s trademark warm production sheen, resulting in rich, memorable songs that both respect and transcend their roots.

Daníel Bjarnason – Processions
Daníel is a straight-up composer for orchestra. But, somewhat predictably, his work is anything but simple. ‘Processions’ is an album that ducks and weaves restlessly, creating a sense of deep unease, whether through intense, spiralling compositions that feel like they’re about to tumble from the rails dramatically, or via plucked and bowed string arrangements that refuse to let the listener off the hook.

Valgeir Sigurðsson – Architecture Of Loss
Valgeir founded Bedroom Community with Nico Muhly, and he’s the producer who defines the sound of the label. His solo works are few and far between, but offer an insight into the cross-disciplinary aesthetic that colours BedCom’s output. ‘Architecture of Loss’ is the most recent: a rich electro-acoustic offering released in 2012.

See the Whale Watching Tour at Harpa’s Eldborg Hall on November 3rd. An extra ticket is required.

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