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Hafdís Bjarnadóttir - Sounds of Iceland [Gruenrekorder - 2015]

Gruenrekorder imprint presents Sounds of Iceland, field recordings by Hafdís Bjarnadóttir. For those unfamiliar, Gruenrekorder is a label that specializes in found sounds, audio documentaries, and field recordings. I’ve grown quite fond of this label’s output, but this beautifully presented CD may be their finest offering yet. On this latest album, we are taken on a journey to Iceland. Rather than observe the bustling hub that is ‎Reykjavík, we are treated to natural sites that Iceland has to offer.

It’s a little known fact, that at the top of my bucket list for places to travel resides Iceland. I don’t know if it’s the puffins, the milky blue lagoons, or Bjork, but I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland. So it was with great interest that I listened to Hafdís Bjarnadóttir’s Sounds of Iceland. Over the course of nearly 42 minutes, Bjarnadóttir manages to capture the majestic beauty of Iceland’s many natural offerings. The disc is divided into 7 tracks, each piece covering a particular region in Iceland: South, South West, West, Westfjords, North, Highland Plateau, and From East to South. This is pure audio documentary, expertly captured in pristine clarity. Sit back, relax and hear the sounds of waterfalls, caves, bubbling hot springs, the spray of the North Atlantic crashing the Icelandic coasts, chirping birds (puffins perhaps?), geysers, and many of Iceland’s other natural attractions. The album’s focus and simplicity are what makes the sounds presented so endearing. And it should be noted that Bjarnadóttir added no human-derived sounds to this recording. What you hear is what you get. However, I’m sure she had to edit down many, many hours of material to present to us the best sounds he found on his journey.


If the Iceland’s Board of Tourism was smart, they would do well to hire Ms. Bjarnadóttir as their documentarian, to promote the the natural splendor of the country. There are certainly no tricks or surprises to be found here, just the simple sounds of nature in a place far removed from my own. An exceptional release through and through. Perhaps one of my favorites from the Gruenrekorder imprint. If you are a fan of straight forward field recordings, you would do well to add this to your collection.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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