Yagya - The Rhythm of Snow
Aalsteinn Gumundsson lives in Iceland and has been producing records for more than a decade under a number of names, most of which have been connected with the Icelandic musical collective known as Thule Musik. With Yagya, he's found an appropriate home with German label Force Inc. The Rhythm of Snow is definitely Force Inc. material and would fit nicely on your shelf right next to Wolfgang Voigt's Gas records.
Through the course of the ten "Snowflakes" on this record, Gumundsson elaborates on a soft techno rhythm, forgoing the usual room-quaker of a beat for a more minimal approach. Each theme and variation is wrapped around his reflections of the natural environment of his home. "Snowflake 7" is filled with rain, the gentle stormburst of the early summer when the fields are actually green and verdant. "Snowflake 9" is the early autumn storm where the leaves are rustling in the trees and the water drops on the windows and roofs seems sharper, more insistent, as if the drops are more ice than water. The other tracks take you into swow-swept landscapes, valleys and hills of light powder and bright glacial moraines. You are left with the feeling that the horizon is infinite, stretched out beneath either a brilliant blue sky or sealed up in a world of mist and fog. The rhythms undulate perpetually beneath you, permanement loops which spiral you across these stretched landscapes.
I'm a big fan of Voigt's work as Gas, of the "being lost in a dark German wood" feeling of his records, and there is a direct line connecting Gumundsson to that style of minimal techno beat-scapes. Though in the case of The Rhythm of Snow, the sonic landscape is more open, more white, and there is more space for winds to sing and moan. I think "crystalline" and "expansive" when I drop myself into these ten tracks; I think of mile-long glaciers moving on an eternal scale; I think of snow being whipped off the crest of towering mountain tops, a ten mile gossamer streamer flowing behind the sunlit peak. I think of Iceland and how warm the people who live there must be in order to survive. I think of snow and I'm not cold.
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