The frozen stillness of an Icelandic landscape.
Gentle, delicate, understated and humble. That is how Stefán Hafsteinsson composes his music for his debut EP. Out today on Moderna Records, Stefán fits immediately into their pantheon of musicians who take the piano, sprinkle some yearning strings and light electronics on top and serves up a treat.
‘Heima’ is a four track EP, a taster of what is to come hopefully. Each of the four tracks by the Icelandic composer describes a landscape frozen in time. The piano is soft, intimate and a step above minimalist. By that, I mean that there are fully fleshed melodies for each track but Stefán Hafsteinsson chooses to not pound them out with gusto. Instead, the title track and ‘Ótta’ carefully pick their way through like taking tentative steps forward into the unknown.
Elsewhere ‘Haltu’ and ‘Ós’ have a serene synth side to them. The former has the gentlest arpeggios bubbling under the piano and strings. It is the most uplifting track on the EP, whilst the latter is a more pensive and reflective take. ‘Ós’ is the dramatic jewel in the EP’s crown though. Stefán keeps the strings and piano slightly separate and unformed early on in the track. As it evolves over its five-minute length, the two sides join together to support each other. It turns a track that feels like evokes a struggling march forward to an understated union of both instruments working in tandem.
Short but extremely sweet, Stefán Hafsteinsson has crafted a lovely EP with ‘Heima’. From its intimate production to its evocative use of volume and tempo, ‘Heima’ will entertain you. Sounds to me like we have another Icelandic composer who can nail that sad reflective vibe perfectly! What do they put in the water there?!
Recommended track: Heima
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