I always felt I had done myself a disservice by not listening to more classical music in my youth. I suppose popular opinion in high school says that it’s boring, but the band nerds always knew: classical music is actually the most dramatic. The new record from múm contributor, Gyda Valtysdottir titled Epicycle was a great opportunity for me to not only immerse myself in ornate pieces, but also to learn about composers I know nothing about, catching me up quickly after my recklessly ignorant teenage years.
Epicycle is a compilation of Gyda’s interpretations of classic pieces by Sergei Prokofiev, Harry Partch, Franz Schubert, George Crumb, Robert Schumann, Olivier Messiaen, and Hildegard von Bingen. If, like me, you are unfamiliar with any of these names, I highly recommend looking up the original piece; it is fascinating to see how Gyda has manipulated it to really be her own. Her aptitude with the cello is clear, and truly leaves one speechless to describe it. The genre of the album paces between ambient and Baroque, felt as a commanding force during “Ancient Modes,” but retreating to unease on “Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus.” Whether you are an active fan of classical or not, give this album a chance to win you over.