Sigur Rós have announced the release of their orchestral album, Odin’s Raven Magic. The 70-minute piece is a collaboration with fellow Icelandic artists Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Steindór Andersen. Featuring Schola Cantorum of Reykjavík and L’Orchestre des Laureats du Conservatoire National de Paris, it arrives on December 4th on Krunk via Warner Classics and is available for preorder.
In conjunction with the album announcement, the band previewed Odin’s Raven Magic with lead single “Dvergmál.” Featuring choral arrangements helmed by former Sigur Rós member and arranger Kjartan Sveinsson and Amiina’s Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, the music was inspired by a chapter from the Edda, a collection of Icelandic medieval literary works. It also includes the sounds of a five-octave marimba comprising pieces of stone built by sculptor and artist Páll Guðmundsson.
The chapter’s title, Hrafnagaldur Óðins, translates to “Odin’s Raven Magic.” The ominous poem tells the story of Norse god Odin’s raven messengers giving a foreboding warning about the end of the world. Its inclusion in the Edda has been debated, but in 2002 scholars declared it an official part of the Edda.
“Hrafnagaldur Óðins has lots of interpretation and implications that fire up the imagination… It’s a very visual poem, with images all about falling down, and a world freezing from north to south. It was an apocalyptic warning,” Hilmarsson said in a statement. “Perhaps the people of the time felt it in their skins. Today, of course, Iceland is involved in environmental issues surrounding hydro-electric power and the destruction of the highlands. We are being warned again.”
While Odin’s Raven Magic made its debut at the 2002 Reykjavík Arts Festival and has been performed only a handful of times since, this is their first official release of the work. It was recorded live at Paris, France’s La Grande Halle de la Villete.
Odin’s Raven Magic Tracklist
2. “Alföður Orkar”
4. “Stendur Æva”
5. “Áss Hinn Hvíti”
6. “Hvert Stefnir”
7. “Spár Eða Spakmál”