If music was ever truly ‘created’ by someone, it would be the music by Lárus Sigurðsson. Not only the melodies, but also the instruments themselves have been made by the 45-year-old Icelandic guitarist of post-rock band Stafrænn Hákon.
After studying the classical guitar at the College of Music in Iceland, Lárus moved to England to study Anthroposophy and Pedagogy. There he met a master carpenter and violinmaker who became his private teacher. This opened a whole new world to Lárus; the world of musical instrument-making and woodwork in general. Lárus studied the master at work like a true disciple, watching every step of the process closely, discovering the great depth this craftsmanship has to offer. It was under his guidance that Lárus started to design new stringed instruments made from wood he found on Iceland. As wood is a rare find on the island, these instruments become even more unique. Over the years, these ‘earth-harps’ (jarðhörpur), as Lárus calls them, have found their way into his music; sometimes as a lead instrument but often not more than as a subtle bright note scratching the dark surface.
After his studies in England, Lárus moved back to Iceland and started a wood-workshop in a small community for disabled people in the countryside. There he continued to design his unique instruments in an ideal environment. Over the years, it turned into a little instrument museum as well, which happens to be the place where Olafur Josephsson of Stafrænn Hákon and Lárus met. Ever since the two became friends, they have been working together in music regularly. In fact, Lárus is now the guitarist in the band and this band is also the link with VOLKOREN. Label owner and vocalist Minco Eggersman has written and sung tracks for four albums of Stafrænn Hákon so far.
In the summer of 2014 Lárus and Minco met at a festival in Amsterdam. Ever since that festival, they have been working on a way to get Lárus’ music out to the world. Therefore, the earlier works of Lárus Sigurðsson – Dagur Sundraranna and Höfuð á Sundi –were released digitally as a warm-up to the 2016 album We are told that we shine, which is mixed by Jan Borger and features Olafur Josephsson of Stafrænn Hákon on guitar. In 2017, Jarðhörpur (recorded by Valgeir Sigurðsson who is known for his work with Björk), saw the light. Part two of this EP will follow soon.
Now it’s first time for The Beauty of an Ending. This album is based on piano improvisations, played in a little Icelandic church after a period of mourning. Lárus found himself on a crossroads, which led him to these improvisations. Besides that, he had to turn away from his work and dwelling place. The only things left were his music and his own life. These beautiful, but sometimes painful sketches on piano are accompanied by Lárus’ typical soundscapes. Despite the melancholia, hope is rising in this work and the music is more about life than about dead. That’s why the working title Requiem was changed into The Beauty of an Ending.
Lárus’ music can be described best as the crossroads of both improvisation and minimal ideas that have been thought through very carefully, with a little touch of the more abstract work of Björk and the works Christian Fennesz and Godspeed You Black Emperor.
Imagine Iceland, a winter’s day, you are alone and there’s hardly any light. However, in some way light that’s left, reflects on a big lake. It’s hard to determine its origin. Somehow it does not matter, as this resonates beauty in its purest form …