Published Oct 23, 2020Nearly 20 years on from first performing the orchestral piece in their native Iceland, Sigur Rós will give Odin's Raven Magic a proper album release. The piece will officially arrive on December 4 through Krunk, via Warner Classics.
Odin's Raven Magic was conceived and commissioned by the Reykjavik Arts Festival in 2002 as an accompaniment to Icelandic poem Hrafnagaldur Óðins, and performed only a handful of times that year. The version that will now arrive as an album is taken from a live recording of the 70-minute score from Paris' La Grande Halle de la Villette.
For the piece, the band collaborated with Icelandic musicians Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Steindór Andersen, Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir of the band amiina, and sculptor Páll Guðmundsson, whose custom five-octave marimba built from stone features prominently on the recording. Former Sigur Rós member Kjartan Sveinsson primarily handled orchestral and choral arrangements.
Hrafnagaldur Óðins tells the story of a banquet held by the gods, in which ominous signs foretell the end of the world of both gods and men. Of the work, Hilmarsson offers, "Hrafnagaldur Óðins has lots of interpretation and implications that fire up the imagination…It's a very visual poem, with images all about falling down, and a world freezing from north to south. It was an apocalyptic warning. Perhaps the people of the time felt it in their skins. Today, of course, Iceland is involved in environmental issues surrounding hydro-electric power and the destruction of the highlands. We are being warned again."
The piece's "Dvergmál" can be heard here. Sigur Rós had previously planned to release Odin's Raven Magic as a DVD/CD package in 2008, though the release ultimately never came to fruition.
While vocalist Jónsi recently released solo effort Shiver, the band's most recent studio effort remains 2013's Kveikur.
Odin's Raven Magic:
2. Alföður orkar
4. Stendur æva
5. Áss hinn hvíti
6. Hvert stefnir
7. Spár eða spakmál