We have a great honor to present an exclusive premiere of Veronique Vaka’s video for Gætni directed by Samantha Shay. It arrives as a celebration of the unusual anniversary for not only the artist but also the label. The track comes from Erlendis album, which was released digitally five years ago as the very first record in the catalogue of the Moderna Records label. On the occasion of this very special 5th anniversary, Erlendis will have a physical release on 31st January with a new artwork! As for today, you can watch the new video for Gætni exclusively on Muzykaislandzka.pl.
Veronique Vaka is an Icelandic-based Canadian cellist and composer. After her studies in electro-acoustic composition at the University of Montreal she graduated with a master’s degree in music composition from the Iceland University of the Arts under the guidance of Páll Ragnar Pálsson, Þuríður Jónsdóttir and Daníel Bjarnason. Veronique is a member of the Society of Icelandic Composers (Tónskáldafélag Íslands) and an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre. She has composed for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Duo Harpverk, Ensemble Synaesthesis, Caput Ensemble, Siggi String Quartet, Nordic Affect to name a few.
Let’s start with the video since it is the most important thing of today! The video for Gætni was directed by very talented Samantha Shay (who directed for many Icelandic artists including Sóley and JFDR) under the kindly eye of Victoria Sendra (director of photography). As Veronique says, it was very important for her to work with women artists for this project. Together they created the picture, combining the beauty and the power of the Icelandic landscape with the story about the loss – the state of suspension and acceptance for the present moment. The other interpretation mentioned by the creators of the video says that it reflects the space between grace and gravity. The video is full of calmness, radiating with extraordinary strength. I will only add that Ása Bríet Brattaberg made a unique dress specially for the video. The dress is like a snowflake, swirls torn in the wind, to eventually fade away in the vastness of Icelandic space…
The video for Gætni precedes the reissue of the unique album – Erlendis was released on 25th of May 2015 as Moderna Records’ very first release [catalog number MR001]. That is how started the great story of the label, which – since then – released many fantastic albums from various artists like Snorri Hallgrímsson, Josh Alexander, Ed Carlsen, Pleq, Julia Giertsen, Tom Adams or Tambour. Five years after its first release, on 31st January 2020, Erlendis will be re-released. This time in form of physical copies (and also on streaming services) with a new graphic design by Bertrand Sallé.
Erlendis is an amazing album. Created from Icelandic landscapes, wasteland, sounds of wind, water and squeaking boards of fishing boats. It was an attempt to describe and tame a foreign place (Icelandic ‘erlendis’ might be translated as ‘overseas’ or ‘abroad’) by means of sounds. Veronique Vaka composed and produced all the tracks for this album. It was recorded at the Greenhouse Studios by Paul Evans (he also mastered the record) and Alex Somers, who took care of additional production and mix. The album also features a few fantastic guests – instrumentalists and vocalists. Such as Auður Viðarsdóttir and Hörður Már Bjarnason who perform the vocal parts in Gætni, which has its video premiere today.
Five years ago, on the day of Erlendis premiere, I asked Veronique how she would describe her album. That’s how she answered my question: „Erlendis is an ambient/classical album. It has five tracks where string ensemble, piano solo and soundscapes are at the core of my research. I explored the use of these elements, working with them as a living organism and experiencing them as a whole. During one year I captured the sounds of my environment and I started composing around these field recordings. In this project I try to focus closely on the sound and texture of the instruments. The melodies I use are short and chord progressions slow, perhaps I think of them more like a combination of little sounds than a group of notes”.
You can read the full interview with Veronique here.
While listening to Erlendis today, I am very pleased to confirm my words said years ago. Veronique managed to create her own musical world, atmospheric, subtle and beautiful. And I have to admit, that I still listen to this album with bated breath…