Jóhannes Birgir Pálmason is best known for his work as Epic Rain, and in fact the fourth Epic Rain album came out earlier this month (review to follow in the upcoming weeks…). However, that’s not the only record Jóhannes released in 2019. Hell, it’s not even the only album he released in November, because on the same day that Epic Rain’s All Things Turn To Rust came out, so too did Music Library 01 from his new project Hvörf. Joining him as part of Hvörf is none other than Þórir Georg, who has appeared on Life in the Vinyl Lane many times for his solo work as well as with Fighting Shit, Óreiða, Roht, and probably a dozen other bands I’m forgetting. Between them the pair have covered a wide range of musical genres from electronic to hip hop, singer-songwriter to hardcore, indie to black metal, so when I first heard about Hvörf I was curious as to what kind of sounds they’d make together.
I was not expecting library music.
Now, don’t be confused. Music Library 01 isn’t some kind of generic collection of music and sound designed with TV and film producers in mind. At least not entirely. There are absolutely some delicate tracks such as “The Cosmic Connection”, with it’s piano and gentle guitar foundation, that would be absolutely perfect for a movie score. But we also have more experimental works like “Life On Other Planets” that utilize dialog samples from other media as part of the sonic composition. When viewed as a whole we see that Music Library 01 is anchored by these two styles, and in fact they alternate across the albums eight tracks – the odd numbered songs played as low key and at times dramatic instrumentals while the even numbered tracks have a more sci-fi sensibility and use dialog sampling all of which seems to be tied to aliens and/or a possible nuclear apocalypse, giving them a somewhat dystopian feel. It’s like two four-song EPs, except instead of each EP taking up one thematically consistent side the songs are shuffled together like a deck of cards. The effect is not as obvious as you might think, because while the two styles are different they retain some similar stylistic elements, the underlying atmospheric foundation the same for all eight compositions. It’s some exception chill out music.
Music Library 01 is available for listening at Bandcamp HERE. The vinyl was put out on the Lucky Records imprint, and while not for sale on Bandcamp it is available through their store in Reykjavik. Discogs indicates it’s a relatively small pressing of 250 copies, so make sure to get yours.