“Swallowed a Star”
One Little Indian
Daniel Agust made his name as lead singer of electronica outfit Gus Gus and as a soundtrack producer in his native Iceland. It’s easy to hear why on both counts with his debut solo album, “Swallowed a Star.”
Think of Agust’s music as new age with a club influence. Grand orchestral sweeps combine with electronic flourishes. The proceedings are fluid and always seem to be in motion — swelling and subsiding, rising and falling, rousing and solemn.
That juxtaposition is evident throughout “Swallowed a Star.” The moody “Someone Who Swallowed a Star” combines hymnal music with a storminess. “If You Leave Me Now” is both eloquent and eerily jellified.
Elsewhere, Agust is able to combine elements like a complicated formula to make his muse rich in variety and unquestionably his own. The seesawing low-end to “The Stingray” could work in a smoky jazz club. “Intersection” is one of the more bizarre compositions to grace the CD — a shuddering outburst filled with outré elements like bleeding horns and beats that sound like whips hitting flesh.
The only problem might be “Swallowed a Star” is too pastel for some. It’s not blustery, high-energy music by any means, but its shape-shifting features and melding of old sounds with new serve an important purpose in adding expanding dimensions to popular music.
For another, “Swallowed a Star” is yet one more example of the strange and satisfying sounds emanating from Iceland (Sigur Ros and Bjork are others who quickly come to mind). I’m not sure if there’s a place more musically creative than there.