Everyone goes to Iceland to make an album these days and Gail Priest is no exception.
These 8 compositions are based on field recordings in and around Olafsfjordur, a coastal town in Northern Iceland (population 800), but they are far from pastoral meditations on idyllic landscapes. Certainly the natural elements of water and wind dominate but they are met head on with metal, the industrial clamour telling of the toughness required to survive in this harsh environment.
Combined with vocal and instrumental improvisations the figurative qualities of the manipulated field recordings are stretched and twisted to create portals through which the listener may travel to this beautiful but brutal land to experience previously untold folktales, forgotten ghost stories and suspected alien invasions.
Early in her time in Olafsfjordur the ubiquity of water got Gail thinking about the adage “you cannot step twice into the same river,” attributed to the 5th Century BC philosopher Heraclitus The Obscure. She found he had some other interesting things to say that added to her ruminations of this curious locale. Twenty-first century mediation means that every place now feels familiar but in many ways Gail found this small fishing town uncanny and inscrutable, leaving her feeling as strangely misplaced as if in fact she were the ancient Heraclitus, transported across time to far Northern Iceland.
With a refined musical sensibility, this album explores green field-recordings and sculpted sound waves, slowly moving droney variations, acoustic resonances, metallic reverbs, vocal mantra-like improvs, and timbral manipulations on various objects. A reflective, cerebral and moodily introspective travel through natural elements and atmospheres of deep quietness.
Igloo Magazine - igloomag.com/reviews/gail-priest-heraclitus-in-iceland
Carefully balanced, original instrumentation and beautiful vocalisations: this album is a refreshing surprise and another proof that Iceland is a huge source of creativity and inspiration for those open to it.
Ambient Blog - www.ambientblog.net/blog/2017-12-07/54/
Through melodies that slur across the skies like dark clouds, or voices that sigh like a lethargic, phantom dawn chorus, Priest turns Olafsfjordur into scenic setting for the mind’s more complex deviations of thought...
ATTN:Magazine - www.attnmagazine.co.uk/music/12774
Priest’s diverse skills yield a wide variety of timbres. “Rusted Rituals” seeps glissandos and drones, echoing the sorrow of sailors drowned at sea…The winds of “Home Moan” are met by siren choirs as they whip against neighborhood flagpoles, an invitation to a shipwreck. Yet as Priest turns her attention to streams, churches, and ultimately to the Northern Lights, the mood shifts from doom to delight. Above, below and all around, wonders are waiting to be heard.
A closer listen - acloserlisten.com/2017/11/28/gail-priest-heraclitus-in-iceland/