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Snorri Hallgrímsson – Deutsche Grammophon Announces Debut EP: Longer shadows, softer stones

Snorri Hallgrímson EP

Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to announce the release of Longer shadows, softer stones, the debut Yellow Label EP from Snorri Hallgrímsson. The Icelandic composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist has collaborated with DG several times in recent years, creating imaginative reworks of “Idylle” from Erik Satie’s Avant-dernières pensées (2021), Víkingur Ólafsson’s performance of “Vogel als Prophet” from Robert Schumann’s Waldszenen (“The Plover and the Raven”, 2023) and Lili Boulanger’s D’un vieux jardin (2024).

Now he has written and produced six original tracks for an EP that encourages us to travel with hope, despite the darkness of the world around us. “The older I get and the more I learn – the more I understand this immense feeling of disillusion that I’ve always felt”, he notes. “We often associate melancholic music with depression, but to me depression is what happens when we go down the spiral of escapism to ignore the discomfort. I am at my absolute happiest when I can sit, live and breathe with the disillusion and use it to fuel my creativity.”

Hallgrímsson provides the vocals in the opening track, “Three Week Cloud”, as well as playing piano and programming the recording’s electronic elements. He is joined by string players from the Reykjavík Orchestra, conducted by Viktor Orri Árnason. Longer shadows, softer stones comes out digitally and on vinyl on 4 October 2024. Three tracks will be released in advance: “With Love, Despite the Pain” in July, “Hinum megin” (“On the other side”) in August and “And I Alone” in September.

Snorri Hallgrímsson grew up in a musical family and trained as a classical guitarist as well as singing in choirs. On discovering film music in his teens, he began writing his own pieces, going on to study composition at the Iceland Academy of the Arts and Berklee College of Music. He then worked closely with Ólafur Arnalds on projects including The Chopin Project (with Alice Sara Ott) and the award-winning score for the TV series Broadchurch. Hallgrímsson released his first solo album, Orbit, in 2018 (“a glorious debut” Spellbinding Music).

Orbit is as close to flawless as anything that’s crossed my desk this year. Musically, it’s stunning. Thematically, it is dramatic without being melodramatic. Emotionally, it’s sad, but never maudlin. This is the kind of record you never forget.” Exclaim!

Further solo projects followed – the EPs Landbrot I and Landbrot II, and the album I Am Weary, Don’t Let Me Rest (“pieces of music on the verge of perfection” Gezeitenstrom Musikmagazin), winner of Production of the Year at the 2024 Icelandic Music Awards. He has composed chamber and choral works, too, while his growing list of soundtracks includes Chasing The Present, Jaula/The Chalk Line and Innocence. His music also features in Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film Parthenope, premiered at this year’s Cannes Festival.

His music is characterised by a healthy dose of Icelandic melancholy,
fed with electronic undercurrents”
5 Finger Review

Hallgrímsson’s characteristically atmospheric DG debut EP opens with “Three Week Cloud”, written in 2022 during a short residency in Nantes. “I had the opportunity and encouragement to simply focus on creating and enjoying the moment,” he recalls. “It felt like floating on a cloud. [Here] I take on the role of the cloud, inviting you to lean on me while I carry you onwards to the rest of the EP.”

He does so by creating a soundworld of subtle beauty, consisting of poignant but uplifting solo piano lines, at times underpinned by warm, gently shifting string arrangements and/or layers of electronica that ebb and flow, bearing us ever further along a winding musical path.

In “With Love, Despite the Pain” and “And I Alone” Hallgrímsson addresses the sense of isolation that can overwhelm us when we watch the news. “I’m hopeful, despite the horror,” he says. Continuing a theme from I Am Weary, Don’t Let Me Rest, he references Dante’s Inferno, reminding us that as the writer took courage from having Virgil as his guide, “we can take courage and follow each other”.

Next is “a musical double-act, with ‘Móanóra’ written as the calm breath of air you needed after the more chaotic ‘Sumrar’”. In Icelandic, sumrar means “becoming summer” (“I very much enjoy that in my language we have specific verbs for the happening of the seasons, as it implies a continuous motion rather than a static state”), while móanóra is the name for Sabulina stricta, a plant found primarily in the highlands (“an important reminder that beautifully fragile creations can survive even in the harshest of environments”).

“Hinum megin” is inspired by Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir’s short poem Svar (“Answer”), lines from which also provide the EP with its title. “If this EP has a theme, the theme would be a journey,” notes Hallgrímsson. “And this gorgeous poem invites us to imagine what it’s like at the end of the biggest journey of them all.”

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Snorri Hallgrímsson – Deutsche Grammophon  Announces Debut EP: Longer shadows, softer stones
Snorri Hallgrímsson – Deutsche Grammophon Announces Debut EP: Longer shadows, softer stones
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