The world finds itself fortunate to experience new records by Alessandro Cortini and Úlfur side by side. Their simultaneous creation is coincidental, as well as their nearby release dates, but in tandem they unlock the interminable beauty of the quotidian.
Walk outside when the sun is highest. Close your eyes and let the shadows of trees flicker the light shining through your eyelids. You can sense the changes even without seeing them happen. With gentle enough light, it can even feel calming, just as the soft orchestral and droning elements of Cortini and Úlfur may soothe your mind. Avanti, Cortini’s new work, feels restrained, enshrined in memory and fixed in history. He wrote it as a re-telling of his own childhood, a musical score for life that people so often fantasize about. But after re-visiting Super 8 films, Cortini realized that his memories were faulty. This was not so much a shock as it was simply a reaffirmation of the unreliability of the human mind. The album has videos accompanying two tracks thus far, both using real family footage from when he was a boy. I hope we can see the entire anti-narrative unfold through film clips for the remaining songs, though to be fair they don’t contain my life. I’d understand wishing to keep it all for himself.
A vast openness defines Arborescence, the new LP from Úlfur. The music perfectly complements Avanti through it’s meaningful entropy, but it comes from an orchestra and includes some sparing lyrics. Some tracks, like the album opener, prove to be louder than others, but don’t let that distract you from your distractions. Especially coupled with Cortini, these songs can quiet your mind with slow, but wide chamber movements. It could be compared to Sigúr Ros, but without an overt shimmer of beauty. One could describe it as working harder to enjoy Úlfur, but the irony is that it comes together only when you have stopped trying to decipher it.
So if the weather is nice, go outside and take a walk. Perhaps you will find small sparks of calm, joy therein, among a landscape that you may take for granted. It is time we appreciated life’s silence.