The first time I read Völuspá, I was on a the train from Milano to Montalcino, in Italy.
It was such a wonderful and mystical picture of a world created out of blood, iris, skin and hair of one giant. It talked about how humans were formed out of driftwood. There was magic in this story which I couldn’t escape and I knew, at that moment, that this will be the material for our next album. – Rea Dubach
Völuspá is the second full length record from the Swiss experimental Jazz (if you could even call their unique sound that) trio known as Síd. To dub this an epic recording would be an understatement. The piece is an enchanted, multilayered sonic hybrid based on a 60 stanza poem of the same name. Save for a few edits and omissions, the poem was lifted directly from Prose Edda (a 13th century collection of Icelandic myths and poems) almost in its entirety, and sung in the original language. The tale covers the creation of the world and the cataclysmic war incited by power hungry giants which leads to its destruction and subsequent rebirth.
Völuspá took four years from concept to master. During this time, band leader and vocalist Rea Dubach aka Das Reum went into a creative seclusion, and not only immersed herself in Icelandic mythology and culture, but even learned to speak the language. She wrote the entire record the way one would score a movie – scene by scene – except that this movie flickered in her mind’s eye only.
The songs grew in layers like bark on trees – from the simple acoustic to the heavily modified. The core arrangement (slide guitar, bass, keys and drums) was overdubbed with field recordings and extra guitar takes, percussive instruments, glockenspiel, a bandurria, a lute, a moog, a rhodes and a grand piano. The vocals were sampled, sent through effects and resampled again. As much as the core sessions were about discipline, what mattered most here was improvisational madness – walking a fine line between beauty and chaos. If you listen closely you might even hear the sound of ping pong balls being thrown about and weird metallic sounding percussion bits being played on found objects.
The final product is gorgeously orchestral. It thrives on a skillful negotiation of opposites and the tensions that their clashes and contrasts create: the acoustic and the electronic, the understated and the rhapsodic, the regimented and the chaotic. The record is mesmeric, epic and, most certainly, it’s like no other. In her own words: „I don’t know what to call it. I try not to think in boxes because this constrains my ideas about music. The Earth itself has so many different climates and such a diverse range of flora, with so many unique specimens flourishing everywhere. Music has to be like this as well, otherwise it’ll trap itself.“
Rea Dubach – vocals, guitar, effects
Luzius Schuler – piano, rhodes, moog, effects
Lukas Rutzen – drums