Sight + Sound: Iceland [3/2/17-5/15/17] by a zugunruhe

The Trip

I hadn't been back to Iceland since 2013, so being given the opportunity to live and work in a tiny town in the north seemed like a wonderful escape from New York City.

Skagastrond proved to be a perfect area to chill and work. I produced a handful of works while on site including Lightwaves and LoveDeath. The culmination of my time of the island is reflected in this video.

The Video

The theme of the video is the Ring Road, the most notable travel aspect of Iceland. Route 1 navigates the entire island and the video is a near-chronological timeline of driving the road counter-clockwise. 

When driving around Iceland, the scenery changes every twenty miles. Instead of linking similar shots together, the goal here was to show how abruptly the landscape changes and using this unique experience as the driver of the video.

I also wanted to give the video breaks from the assault of landscapes. These came in the form of tourists, animals, and vehicles.

Since I first visited in 2012, Iceland has exploded with tourism. While there were a fair amount of people then, it's more than quadrupled since. There are now actual parking lots at attractions on the south shore and people casually walk all over the place. At this point I'm pretty familiar with the main attractions, so it was like showing someone a movie that you love, but they've never seen, and waiting for watching their reactions. 

I also wanted to bring focus on mundane things that seem extraordinary in the context of Icelandic topography. Seagulls resting on a large chunk of ice, sheep feeding on grass in a fjord while camouflaged by their food, a main street in small town overshadowed by a serrated peak.

The Music

I wanted something ethereal for the music. I didn't want to copy Sigur Ros so I landed on recording my friend Tahseen matching an octave of notes in ohhh's and ahhh's then looping a small part of the recording into minute-long notes.

The music came together very quickly once I had the first note of each movement.  I was aiming for sounds that represented the wonder and space that the country gives travelers. I wanted sparse but lush arrangements that accentuate the already unreal views and the serene feeling that accompanies them. But again relying on video/audio syncopation. 

The Intro, First, and Second movements are purely her voice sampled and processed. The Third is primarily a melody recorded on an OP-1 with backing from Tahseen.

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